Nick Saban is still getting chastised for not suspending Alabama wideout Jermaine Burton after striking a female Tennessee fan storming the field in the immediate aftermath of Crimson Tide’s 52-49 October 15 loss in Knoxville — this time given the disciplinary action from Mel Tucker on 4 of his Michigan State players (Tank Brown, Khary Crump, Angelo Grose, and Zion Young) for assaulting Michigan defensive back Ja’Den McBurrows following a 29-7 Wolverines victory in Ann Arbor October 29.
David Hookstead exalted Tucker’s leadership at the expense of Saban’s lack of leadership (in his opinion) in his latest piece for OutKick. “Mel Tucker didn’t make excuses,” Hookstead wrote. “He didn’t try to cook up some insane spin to the media. He stood tall and sent the message unacceptable behavior will not be tolerated. Saban chose to defend a player who hit a defenseless player and played him the very next week.”
Nick Saban found himself in hot water for relaying Jermaine Burton’s ‘fear’ on Shields–Watkins Field at Neyland Stadium as the justification for why the receiver committed the action, and why he wasn’t suspended during an October 20 press conference.
Mel Tucker Statement on Post-Game Brawl
Mel Tucker didn’t condone his team’s actions following Michigan State’s 3-score loss to Michigan during the annual battle for the the Paul Bunyan Trophy in the slightest, instead vowing to help law enforcement figure out the best course of action regarding the Spartans’ assault on Ja’Den McBurrows in the tunnel.
“As Spartans, our program has a responsibility to uphold the highest level of sportsmanship,” Tucker tweeted on October 30. “While emotions were very high at the conclusion of our rivalry game at Michigan Stadium, there is no excuse for behavior that puts our team or our opponents at risk. In complete cooperation with law enforcement, the Big Ten Conference and MSU and UM leadership, we will evaluate the events in Ann Arbor and take swift and appropriate action.”
Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel struck a serious tone in the wake of video footage going viral of the incident. “What happened after the game is completely unacceptable,” Manuel said per ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren. “I’ve talked to the commissioner, he’s looking into it. The police are also looking into it, because they’ve seen the video and they’re addressing it. We will leave it in their hands, but this is not how we should interact after a game. This is not the way another team should grab a player and do what they did, it’s completely and utterly unacceptable. We will let the Big Ten and law enforcement handle it, but this is not what a rivalry should be about.”
SEC Coaches Anonymously Shred Nick Saban
Jimbo Fisher appears to be the only coach willing to put a name and face to any Nick Saban slander these days. While speaking with OutKick’s Trey Wallace, several coaches lambasted the Alabama head coach for not pushing Jermaine Burton past attending counseling in order to remain with the team.
“One-hundred percent suspended,” said one of Saban’s coaching peers within the Southeastern Conference. “A terrible message. He (Saban) gets away with everything. Anyone else would be getting killed.”
“Well, our job is to protect the players in those scenarios,” said another coach unwilling to put his reputation on the line. “But I don’t condone hitting a female in any circumstance. The way the video looked, I would’ve most likely sat him for a game, hopefully where the player would learn a lesson. It’s about optics as well, which could’ve probably been handled differently. But each coach and school has their own protocol. Maybe counseling was enough”