By Mike Bianchi Orlando Sentinel
Too late, Nick Saban and all of his sycophant administrators at the University of Alabama. You can’t save face by kicking a football player off your team who should have never been allowed onto your team in the first place. The iconic Saban, athletic director Bill Battle and school President Judy Bonner _ yes, a woman _ owe domestic violence victims everywhere an explanation and an apology for Jonathan Taylor. Not only that, but they need to also apologize to the alleged victim in the latest domestic violence charges against Taylor and beg her not to sue the school for bringing a suspected domestic abuser onto campus. Aren’t school employees supposed to provide a safe and secure environment for fellow students and residents of Tuscaloosa? I wrote this when it happened back in January and I’ll reiterate it here: Why didn’t the national media skewer Saban in the first place for signing of Taylor, a 6-foot-4, 340-pound nose guard who was kicked off the University of Georgia team for aggravated assault and domestic violence? Now, two months later, Saban is forced to follow Georgia’s lead and kick Taylor off the team after he was arrested AGAIN for domestic violence. The question is why did Saban sign Taylor in the first place? Better yet, why did the university allow Saban to sign Taylor, who was and still is facing two felony counts of aggravated assault as well as misdemeanor theft charges back in Georgia? Even more cowardly was that
Saban didn’t even have the guts to stand up and explain the signing when it happened. Instead, he sent athletic director Bill Battle out to do his dirty work. Said Battle at the time to AL.com: “Our coaches and I feel he [Taylor] is worthy of a second chance.” As I wrote in January: Would the university be willing to give such a second chance to a swimmer or volleyball player with two pending felonies and a theft arrest? Saban, a month after signing Taylor, came out and made a despicably emotional plea about why he signed an alleged domestic abuser: “We recruited this young man out of high school and we felt that from what we knew about him, what his high school coach said, what the people at the school that he was at said about him, and where he came from in junior college, that he was the kind of guy that deserved a second chance. … I said this before that when people are young _ and that is not a mistake that we condone in any shape or form. That’s any disrespect to any person, let alone a female. There’s some occasion to not condemn them for life, but to give them another chance.”
Gag! Saban sounded suspiciously like the Dallas Cowboys, who just signed Greg Hardy _ a defensive end who was found guilty of assaulting and threatening to kill his girlfriend last year before the verdict was reversed when the alleged victim didn’t show up at trial. The Cowboys, like Saban with Taylor, laughably made it sound like they were signing Hardy out of the goodness of their hearts. Charlotte Jones Anderson, daughter of owner Jerry Jones and the team’s executive vice president, told the Dallas Morning News: “We don’t believe in throwing people away. I’m a mom. I’ve got a daughter; I’ve got two sons. This is a serious issue for me, personally. I want my kids to know that domestic violence is not acceptable. But I also want them to know that if they make a mistake, no matter what the issue is, I’m not just going to throw them out. I’ve got to help them come back and make a better choice.” Why don’t the Crimson Tide and the Cowboys just tell the truth and tell us what we already know: “We’ll sign anybody as long as they can help us win.” Come on,
Jerry Jones and Nick Saban, we’re not a bunch of fools. The Cowboys signed Hardy because they were 28th in sacks last year and Hardy’s one of the most dynamic edge rushers in the league. Saban signed Taylor because Ohio State ran over his team in the College Football Playoff semifinal and he needed a dominant run-stuffer in the middle of his defense. For Saban to act like he was trying to save Taylor by giving him a second chance is insulting. Shame on you, Nick Saban. Shame on you, Alabama Crimson Tide. Shame on you, Southeastern Conference.