NY Post Sees Key Differences in Brandon Miller & Tony Mitchell Scenarios

Brandon miller and Nate oats

Getty Brandon Miller and head coach Nate Oats of the University of Alabama.

The off-the-field scandals involving Alabama basketball star Brandon Miller and freshman football player Tony Mitchell have “staggering differences,” according to the New York Post’s Jeremy Layton.

Miller was present at the scene of a crime in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, involving the January shooting death of Jamea Jonas Harris, a 23-year-old Birmingham woman. Miller has not been charged with a crime and continues to play with the school’s No. 1-ranked basketball team. Mitchell was arrested March 15 and charged with possession of marijuana “with the intent to sell and/or deliver,” according to the Holmes County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office. He was suspended from “all team activities,” according to AL.com.

“There is, of course, a staggering difference between the timing and circumstances in the two cases,” Layton wrote in an opinion piece published March 21. “Mitchell is a freshman defensive back who has yet to be on the field for the Crimson Tide, while Miller is arguably the best basketball player in the country. Mitchell’s arrest happened during the offseason, while Miller was not arrested and his team was in the middle of the season and is still in the midsts of a possible championship run.”

The NY Post writer also injected some cynicism about head football coach Nick Saban’s motivation: “It’s fair to wonder if Saban would have taken such a hard line if it was his star quarterback that got arrested on a game week, but one will never know.”

Nick Saban Accused of Taking Shot at Nate Oats

Saban was unforgiving of Mitchell’s actions, claiming during a a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTheAgJmaME” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>March 20 press conference that there was no such thing as the wrong place at the time for anyone.

“Everybody’s got an opportunity to make choices and decisions,” Saban said. “There’s no such thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You have to be responsible about who you’re with, who you’re around, what you do and who you associate yourself with, along with the situations you put yourself in.”

Saban’s reaction was in direct contrast to the reaction of his counterpart, head basketball coach Nate Oats, who invoked the “wrong place, wrong time” notion in regard to Miller’s involvement in Harris’ shooting death, for which a teammate, Darius Miles, has been charged with capital murder.

“We knew about [Miller’s involvement],” Oats said during a February 21 press conference. “Can’t control everything anybody does outside of practice. Nobody knew that was going to happen. College kids are out, Brandon hasn’t been in any type of trouble nor is he in any type of trouble in this case. Wrong spot at the wrong time.”

Layton insinuated that Saban was subtly criticizing Oats for his perceived leniency toward Miller.

“So, was Saban’s quote a direct shot at his basketball counterpart?” Layton wrote.

Fox News’ Scott Thompson made a similar but less-forceful suggestion, writing that Saban’s comment “seemed like it could’ve been a subtle jab.”

Analyst: ‘It Was Pretty Apparent It Was a Coincidence’

On3 Sports’ Clint Lamb, who covers Alabama football tweeted that he believedSaban’s comments were not targeting Oats.

“It looked bad on the surface,” Lamb wrote. “I can’t blame anyone for initially being like ‘whoa.’ But if you analyze it for all of about 10 seconds, it’s pretty apparent it was a coincidence.”