Nick Saban Condemned by Popular Podcast Host For Jermaine Burton Call

Nick Saban criticized for not suspending Jermaine Burton

Getty Nick Saban was condemned by popular podcast host and former NFL punter Pat McAfee for not suspending Jermaine Burton (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Nick Saban’s decision not to suspend Jermaine Burton has garnered criticism from all over the college football world — and ESPN College Gameday host Pat McAfee was the latest media figure to call him out for his inaction following the receiver’s apparent assault of a female Tennessee fan on October 15 following Alabama’s 52-49 Third Saturday in October loss.

“I don’t know how Saban doesn’t punish that guy,” said McAfee during an appearance on the Don’t @ Me with Dan Dakich show on October 24. “You can’t just be openly slapping women. In my eyes, I don’t think Saban made the right play here. I think you have to at least do some sort of punishment… Anytime you put your hands on a woman, I think there should be a message sent. We can’t have that.”

While McAfee admitted to not being a fan of fans storming the field, he didn’t condone Burton’s apparent “self-defense” in the moments following Tennessee kicker Chase McGrath’s game-winning field goal.


Nick Saban Didn’t See it Necessary to Suspend Jermaine Burton

Jermaine Burton caught 2 passes for 40 yards during Alabama’s 30-6 victory over Mississippi State on October 22. To many it was a surprise, since most expected Burton to be suspended for several games, if not the remainder of the 2022 season.

Nick Saban explained to reporters during an October 20 press scrum that Burton was seeking psychiatric help and thus didn’t deem it necessary to suspend the Georgia transfer receiver. “I didn’t think it was necessary to suspend the guy,” Saban said. “If you knew the whole story, maybe you wouldn’t either. But I’m not going to divulge that.”

Saban explained that Burton was scared in the commotion of the Neyland Stadium field-storming and acted out of self-defense. “Look,” Saban told reporters. “I don’t know how many of you have ever been in a situation like that. But I talked to [Burton]. He was scared. I was scared. Some of our other players were scared.”


Nick Saban’s Jermaine Burton Decision Called Bad Precedent

Print journalists were even more unforgiving than most of the major media figures regarding Nick Saban’s decision not to sit out Jermaine Burton for any time at all following his post-game actions in Knoxville on October 15.

Blake Toppmeyer, SEC Columnist of the USA TODAY Network’s South Region, wrote that Saban set a bad precedent by not disciplining Burton at all in his latest for USA TODAY on October 24:

“Saban would have done better to simply offer these truths: No police report was filed on the incident, fans aren’t supposed to be on the field, and, while Burton’s actions were regrettable, the incident did not appear to cause the student serious physical harm.”

“Instead of saying that, Saban offered a farcical explanation that sets a dangerous precedent. He provided a playbook to any Alabama player who harms a fan in any future field-rushing. Just tell Saban you were scared.”

At this point, the incident figures to fade into the background, with Tennessee student Emily Isaacs seemingly not pressing charges. Still, Saban will likely catch flak for putting competition over moral integrity for not doing anything about Burton.

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