Nick Saban lied to us the media, which means he lied to you the public, which means he's a nasty jerk and good riddance for the Miami Dolphins and good luck to Alabama, which will need it with a deceitful snake like that for a head coach.
That's what you are reading today. You are reading about Saban's word being his (junk) bond, a theme the Miami media has been bleating for days, even before Saban decided on Wednesday to leave the Dolphins for Alabama. The Miami Herald called him a "loser (and) weasel" and "the biggest liar since Bill Clinton." FOXSports.com said Saban has "no personal, moral or ethical integrity" and is "a flat-out liar."
|Nick Saban didn't have much choice but to deny he would be leaving the Dolphins for Alabama. (AP)|
Sometimes telling the truth is for dummies. Be outraged, but when you're done, throw away your tapered jeans and VCR and get with the 21st century. To be a winning coach in a major sport, lying is a necessity. The job is too competitive and the media too inquisitive for every question from every reporter to be answered honestly.
Saban screwed up his handling of the Alabama situation by adamantly and repeatedly saying he wasn't going to leave the Dolphins for the Crimson Tide before finally playing the "no comment" card, but he revealed his true position on Dec. 21 when he responded to a barrage of Alabama questions by finally saying, "I guess I have to say it: I'm not going to be the Alabama coach."
Those first seven words -- I guess I have to say it -- shed some light on the rest of that quotation, but nobody wanted to see. Media in Florida and Alabama fixated on the final eight words, and two weeks later those eight words are the hammer smacking Saban on the head.
Sometimes we give a coach like Saban no choice but to lie. If he tells the truth on Dec. 21 and says he is thinking about leaving Miami for Alabama, he gets crushed for allowing his personal ambition to distract an NFL team still playing games.
If he dances around the question by reminding everyone "I have a job," he gets crushed for Refusing To Answer The Question. And then he gets accused of being one step out of town. Like Pittsburgh basketball coach Jamie Dixon and Arizona State last spring.
It's ridiculous. Just because we in the media are searching for the truth and serving the public and all that stuff taught in journalism school by professors who wouldn't know the truth unless it came with a napkin and an olive, that doesn't mean every subject of every story has to help us along the way. That's not reality, and to pretend it should be reality, and then to portray Saban as the mother of all liars, makes all of us in the media look naïve and stupid and small.
Did I like it that Xavier basketball coach Thad Matta told me and other reporters in June 2004 that he was not a candidate for the Ohio State job even as he was discussing the position with OSU officials? No, I didn't like it. But I understood it, and here's why:
Let's say Matta decided not to take the Ohio State job. At the time the Buckeyes had been in the middle of an NCAA investigation, and until Matta learned everything Ohio State knew about that, he couldn't have known whether he would take the job. Keep in mind the timing, too. The summer recruiting season was about to start, and Matta couldn't afford to be prematurely linked to Ohio State, because opposing coaches would use that to butcher him with recruits.
Along comes the media asking him about Ohio State. So what does Matta do? He could tell the truth, which would help the media but hurt Xavier (and Ohio State) in the event he stays. That's asinine. So he lies. And gets hammered for it.
Matta had no choice. He was put into a box, just like general managers and athletic directors are put into a box by midseason questions about the future of their struggling coach. When the GM or AD says the coach is safe -- which is the only reasonable answer during a season -- stories are written about a "vote of confidence."
You want to know why so many coaches who get a "vote of confidence" are fired anyway? It's not because every GM and AD is inherently dishonest. It's because we in the media don't seek a "vote of confidence" for good coaches. Only the bad ones. And bad coaches are the ones who tend to get fired. Funny how that works.
So grow up, media members who have been lied to by Saban or West Virginia's Rich Rodriguez -- another coach who insisted he wasn't a candidate at Alabama only to spend a day mulling an offer from the Crimson Tide -- or by Boston College's Tom O'Brien, whose position was that "I am not a candidate for any job" right up to the time he left for North Carolina State.
Lying happens, media people. It's not personal, just business. Look at your most recent expense account.