At a time when only one NFL coach has issued a statement regarding ongoing unrest throughout the nation arising from the recent death of George Floyd and others, former Dolphins coach and currently Alabama coach Nick Saban has joined the list of college coaches to issue statements.
“I am shocked and angered by the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery,” Saban said. “We’re at an important moment for our country, and now is the time for us to choose kindness, tolerance, understanding, empathy, and most importantly . . . it’s time to love each other. Every life is precious, and we much understand we have so many more things that unite us than divide us.
“I’ve always been inspired and encouraged by examples set by those who came before us like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and so many others who devoted their lives to finding peaceful ways to rid our society of social inequalities. As Dr. King said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied to a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.’ We are all part of this and we must bash these types of injustices in not just our country, but our world. The ultimate future of our nation is in our hands, and like the teams I’ve been privileged to coach, we must depend and respect each other no matter our differences. We must come together as a society and treat one another with respect and dignity.”
Cynics will say that Saban has issued the statement only because other college coaches are doing so, and/or because he (and others) need to say these things given the number of African-American players who play for their teams, without fair compensation for their efforts, risks, and sacrifices. Regardless of motivation, Saban issued the statement. The more that football coaches and others in positions of influence issue statements like this, the harder it will be for our nation to emerge from this moment in time without major change being made in all American communities.