“He Was Scared, I Was Scared” | Nick Saban Doesn’t Feed Into Social Media Drama, Refuses To Suspend Player Who Struck Tennessee Fan As She Stormed Field

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 11: Alabama head coach Nick Saban answers questions from the media at the Heisman Trophy press conference at the Marriott Marquis in New York on December 11, 2021 in New York City, NY. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Following the Tennessee Volunteers’ 52-49 upset over the Alabama Crimson Tide on Oct. 15, thousands of Volunteers fans stormed the field at Neyland Stadium, putting players and coaches at risk.

As many of the Crimson Tide players looked to get off the field and out of the stadium, over 100,000 elated Volunteers fans came running from everywhere. In a chaotic scene of that magnitude anything can happen, and unfortunately it did. As starting Alabama wide receiver Jermaine Burton was heading to the locker room, he pushed a female fan to the ground.

She lacked common sense running out there in the first place, and it should have been a lesson learned, but social media of course tried to twist the blame onto Burton, who was probably the only sober person in that situation.

While many expected the Georgia transfer to be suspended, that didn’t happen. Common sense prevailed in this instance, and ’Bama head coach Nick Saban started him in the team’s next game. Saban was hit with a bevy of questions about that situation after his decision to let sleeping dogs lie. 

Saban responded in typical fashion, showing leadership and never doubting his decision.

“I don’t know how many of you have been in a situation like that. I talked to him. He was scared, I was scared, some of our other players were scared. I think you learn to respect other people because we have a responsibility to do that, regardless of circumstances we’re in. I talked to the guy, we have him in a counseling program, it’s not anger management program, as some announced today. Nobody ever said that, that’s not the problem, that’s not the issue. I didn’t think it was nice to suspend the guy. If you knew the whole story, maybe you wouldn’t either. But I’m not going to divulge that.”

Field Storming Happens When Upsets Occur: Still, Some Felt No Need To Shove A Woman

In college football, field storming happens when an underdog pulls off an upset. And while it can be hectic for the losing team to get out of there, Burton’s physical confrontation with a woman who hadn’t yet touched him understandably ruffled a few feathers. 

Fans everywhere took Saban to task for not suspending his player, but something tells us that he couldnt care less. Known to have an epic rant regularly with the media, the relationship between Saban and the media is frigid at best. Sort of like his mentor and close friend, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. Those two handle things internally and exclusively as it pertains to their teams. 

ESPN/SEC Network Analyst Says Saban: Says He’s Doing A Terrible Job This Season

Paul Finebaum, aka “The Mouth of the South,” who speaks on everything SEC related called Saban out in the aftermath of this situation, citing how undisciplined the Crimson Tide have looked this season. Here’s what he said during an appearance on “The Opening Kickoff” on WNSP-FM 101.5.

“Let’s not sugarcoat this,” Finebaum said. “Nick Saban has been outcoached three times this year by Steve Sarkisian, Jimbo Fisher and Josh Heupel. We’re only at the midpoint of the season. Troubling sign is it’s getting worse, not better.

“Do you want to blame Pete Golding? Do we want to blame Bill O’Brien? Callers to the radio show want to, but Nick Saban is the head football coach. If we’re going to lavish praise on Nick Saban and say he is the greatest coach of all time and could do no wrong, let’s quit hiding behind Nick Saban and tell the truth.

“He’s doing a lousy job this year.”

In three true road games ’Bama has accumulated 47 penalties, which showed a lack of discipline, which is very uncharacteristic of a Nick Saban-coached team. So, in reality Finebaum is correct, and despite their 7-1 record, they look very vulnerable.