Here in Alabama, we love football. Good games, bad games, ugly games. None of that matters when our teams take the field. If it is fall, it is time to play some football.
We have had legendary coaches, mediocre coaches and awful coaches. Regardless of who is wearing that crimson and white coach’s shirt, we are going to support our team.
Since Nick Saban became our coach, we have had some great players and great years as a team. National championship trophies and SEC championship trophies have found their way back to Tuscaloosa.
College football coaches often make the news for all kinds of reasons. Usually it involves some sort of school scandal, NCAA violation or musical coaching chairs.
Alabama’s coach made headlines for a different reason.
One of the most prevalent topics in today’s news is the Black Lives Matter Movement.
The Black Lives Matter movement is a movement to end systemic racism, gun violence and police brutality against African Americans. It could possibly be the largest movement in American history.
Four recent polls suggest about 15-25 million people in the United States have participated in demonstrations in support of the movement.
Even the Civil Rights marches in the 1960’s was considerably smaller.
An independent review of the demonstrations in five major cities found all protests started with violence but ended with peaceful protests.
The movement has been around since 2013, but a recent increase in support from the NFL, NCAA coaches and NASCAR seem to have encouraged supporters to get involved.
So far, the movement has seen some positive results. New York repealed a ban that kept police disciplinary records secret, cities and states have banned chokeholds during arrests and one state voted to retire its flag because it included a Confederate battle emblem.
There has also been a lot of negative publicity surrounding the movement. A social media post being circulated blamed supporters for the destruction of $8 billion in damages and the deaths of 1000 police officers.
However, the United States justice department confirms they have no figures that reflect total officer injuries or property damage and the FBI refused to comment.
There are also many reports that people who participated in the violent demonstrations have no allegiance to the movement and may even oppose it. They just use this platform to spread chaos and fear among citizens to deflect from the message of the movement.
There is also documentation that those who are participating in looting and violence at night are not associated with the peaceful protestors who march during the day.
There will always be bad people who jump on a band wagon to use it for their desire to steal, damage property and act violently against others. Violent protestors and those who destroy property and injure others should certainly be arrested and face consequences in the judicial system.
Most protestors are peaceful, and it would be a mistake to judge them by the actions of the violent few just like we cannot judge all police officers by the actions of a few.
Several weeks ago, Nick Saban lead his Alabama football players in a march to protest racial injustice. Saban said after the march, he felt like a proud father that day.
Apparently, several Twitter users saw anything but pride in Saban’s actions. They put their fingers to work criticizing the coach for his actions and threatening to never watch Alabama football again.
Saban’s daughter posted two photos from the march but had to delete them because of the “hate and threats” posted by people.
In response to his critics, Saban said, “I don’t have an opinion about everyone’s opinion.” He said he is going to be supportive of his players and the things that are important to them.
Last week, he was blasted again for saying, “all lives can’t matter until black lives matter.”
All human life is valuable, and all deserve equal treatment under the law. You may not approve of the messenger, but the message is timeless.
African Americans have suffered from generational trauma for centuries. Slavery, segregation and racism are not just words from history class. They are real.
Why criticize and threaten someone who stands up for something so basic?
The haters will be hard pressed to find much college football to watch if they are not watching because of Coach Saban’s involvement in the march. Jim Harbaugh, Will Muschamp, Ed Orgeron, Mark Stoops, Jeremy Pruitt, Lane Kiffin, Lincoln Riley and Les Miles have all participated in marches with their teams.
Watching Coach Saban stand with those players was a proud moment as far as I am concerned.
If anyone chooses not to watch us because of his actions, then it is their loss.
Anita McGill is a former publisher of The Sentinel. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.