Nick Saban likes to tell people that he loves to give out second chances. He was passionate in the pre-SEC Championship Game press conference about letting DJ Pettway back after booting him for getting arrested for robbery.

He said at the press conference: “There’s always a lot of criticism out there when somebody does something wrong, everybody wants to know how you’re going to punish the guy. There’s not enough for 19 and 20-year-old kids, people out there saying, ‘Why don’t you give them another chance?

He added: “Where do you want them to be? Guy makes a mistake. Where do you want them to be? You want him to be in the street or do you want them to be here graduating?

Then the news came out a few weeks later that ‘Second Chance U’ (and there’s me thinking that school was either Kansas State or Auburn) had just signed Jonathan Taylor, the Georgia defensive tackle booted out of Athens by Mark Richt after being arrested for domestic violence, where he choked and hit his girlfriend.

Was Saban’s impassioned speech simply setting up the media because he knew that he was bringing in a guy who had been thrown out of a SEC rival for domestic violence, and he figured a speech would soften them up for what could have been cascade of nasty media attention? Probably. Taylor’s arrival in January – to Saban’s tune of “He’s the type of guy who deserves a second chance” (Actually, it was three if you count the double-cashing of reimbursement checks while he was at UGA) – wasn’t lauded. And it didn’t really hit home. The news media now crying foul of Saban’s decision to pull in a 6-4 guy who beat the crap out of his 5-11 girlfriend didn’t really remark about Saban’s taking Taylor on, and would they have really done so if Taylor had had 10 sacks and be starting for the Crimson Tide? Probably not.

Right now, Nick Saban owes Alabama fans an apology. He might claim that due diligence wasn’t done on Taylor (deflecting blame from him to the athletic department, although we all know that the decision to bring Taylor in came from Saban himself). He might claim that Taylor had convinced him he was worth the second chance, and it backfired. But really, the words that should be coming out of Saban’s mouth are this: “I screwed up. I should never have taken him on. Sorry.

Why should Saban apologise? Simple. It was a screw-up. But it made Alabama look bad, Alabama students look bad, Alabama fans look bad, the SEC look bad, and himself look very, very bad. Of course, people might not be forgiving, but at least he can say: “I apologised.”

Then, he can never do it again.

 

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