Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Nick Saban, Alabama players offer opinions on NFL anthem protests


Alabama head coach Nick Saban insisted he is just a football coach during his press conference on Monday afternoon when asked about the current political climate overlapping with football. Saban still managed to give his opinions on the events that took place across the NFL yesterday.

“I don’t keep up with all that stuff as much as maybe everybody else does, especially during the season, especially when we’re playing games,” Saban said. “To me, some of the things that we do in our country when I grew up, they were unifying events and it’s a little painful to see that those things are not so right now.”

On Sunday afternoon, players across the NFL took a knee, locked arms, or just stayed in the locker room during the national anthem. While certain players have been doing this for over a year, the increase in protests came in response to comments President Donald Trump made at a rally in Alabama in support of Luther Strange.

Trump said he would love for NFL owners to respond to anthem protests by saying, “Get that son of a b**ch off the field right now.” 

Although Alabama players are not on the field during the anthem, some agree with what is going on in the NFL currently.

“I support what they’re doing because I understand and everything,” Linebacker Anfernee Jennings said. “…I support everything they’re doing and that they stand for.”

Jennings was one of the few players to express his opinion on the matter when questioned. Damien Harris and Anthony Averett  elected not to discuss what was going on in the NFL. 

Harris, who has taken to social media in the past to comment on political issues, did say he recognizes most people have an opinion on the protests. He said there hasn’t been much discussion about it in Alabama’s locker room.

“I think everybody has some thoughts on it, whether you’re for or against or whatever your stance may be,” Harris said. “I don’t really think now is the time to discuss that.”

Saban, one of the sport’s’ most powerful figures, continued to offer more thoughts on the current political climate, which has met sports in a head on collision.

“I also respect everyone’s rights not to be censored in terms of the way they express their beliefs,” Saban said. “I’m just a coach. I don’t have the answers to all the questions. I know that most good things come out of love and respect and compassion and unifying people.”

The NFL anthem protests have seen teams take a stand together and support fellow teammates who have chosen to protest. Jennings says that many football players decide to support their teammates regardless of race, class or upbringing. He said that’s because everyone on the team just wants to win no matter what.

“It doesn’t matter what background, it doesn’t matter where you come from,” Jennings said. “We’re trying to accomplish one goal. That’s where the brotherhood comes in.

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