Alabama's Nick Saban: Da'Shawn Hand won't be suspended, was right not to drive

Nick Saban stood behind Alabama defensive lineman Da'Shawn Hand on Thursday, telling to the media that he won't be suspended after a DUI charge over the weekend. 

Hand was arrested and charged with driving under the influence after being found asleep at the wheel in a parking lot with his keys in the ignition. Saban pointed out that while Hand did put himself in a bad situation, he didn't attempt to drive the car and therefore didn't put others at risk. 

Saban said Hand will have community service and other internal punishments, but "if he does everything he's supposed to do, he won't be suspended." 

"First of all, we have every respect for the police and what they did, so in no way are my comments directed at anything but total respect for those people doing their job," Saban said Thursday via 247Sports. "Da'Shawn put himself in a bad situation. Obviously he made a mistake being where he was at the time. But the fact that he didn't drive the car, aight, which is what we tell the players not to do. It's not OK that he was drinking, with me, and that's a behavioral issue that needs to be addressed and we will address it.

"But the fact that he didn't drive the car and wasn't driving the car, he did not put other people at risk, which to me is the most significant thing when you drive under the influence. But he didn't drive. But they have every right to do what they did.

"... I have two choices. I can punish the guy for putting himself in a bad situation, aight, but making a pretty good decision after he put himself in that situation. Or we can take the situation that he put himself in, which is drinking, aight, and have him assessed for that and try to help him so he can make better choices and decisions in the future."

Hand is one of the key returning players on Alabama's defense for 2017. He played in all 15 games last season and recorded 21 tackles, five quarterback hurries and a pair of sacks. He was also a preseason All-SEC selection by the media earlier this month.

Alabama opens the 2017 season against Florida State in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta. 

CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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