Alabama Coach Nick Saban Apologizes to ESPN’s Maria Taylor After Lashing Out in Interview
“If I sound a little pissed, you’re right. So be careful.”
Alabama’s Nick Saban has apologized to Maria Taylor after giving her an especially abrasive response in a postgame interview on Saturday night.
The famed Crimson Tide coach lashed out after the ESPN reporter and analyst asked him to comment on his two potential starting quarterbacks following the team’s 51-14 win over the Louisville Cardinals. Watch the now-viral moment below:
Nick Saban responded critically to a question about his QBs after Alabama's win. pic.twitter.com/sZCvIox2Dq
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 2, 2018
“Well, I still like both guys,” Saban said of Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts.
“I think both guys are good players. I think both guys can help our team, all right? So why do you continually try to get me to say something that doesn’t respect one of them? I’m not going to. So quit asking!”
Taylor appeared unfased by Saban’s snippy response and kept the interview moving.
“I hear you,” Taylor replied. “Over 500 yards of total offense.”
His attitude was similar when he spoke in the postgame presser and told reporters to “be careful.”
“If I sound a little bit pissed, you’re right. I am,’’ Saban said, according to USA Today. “So be careful.”
Taylor reacted Sunday morning on Twitter, writing, “Don’t mind me.”
— Maria Taylor (@MariaTaylor) September 2, 2018
Saban reportedly called Taylor to apologize for his behavior. He had grown increasingly defensive after fielding similar inquiries leading up to the game.
Uproxx points out that Saban can’t exactly accuse ESPN of unfair treatment, as they are currently hyping his team in the Training Days docuseries.
Few coaches in the country get better publicity for their program from ESPN in particular than Saban at Alabama — they literally just wrapped a Hard Knocksstyle Training Days show on ESPN that showed off Alabama’s facilities and practices and just generally how great everything with the Tide’s program is. That makes it even more ridiculous that he thinks Taylor or ESPN would be actively trying to get him to throw one of his QB’s under the bus.
Part of the problem in this situation, and so many others for college coaches, is you are always recruiting. Post-game interviews, as much as anything, are a time to be ‘crootin. And, as such, you don’t want to say something negative about a player, not just because it could affect Hurts, but because it also could make recruits watching think you play favorites or may disparage them publicly if they don’t have a good game.
ESPN has further details:
He also appeared miffed by questions from reporters earlier in the week, saying, “I wish we could talk about something else.”
Tagovailoa started Saturday’s 51-14 win and went 12-for-16 for 227 yards and two touchdowns. Hurts also played and was 5-for-9 for 70 yards.
Hopefully Saban can keep his cool for the rest of the season.