Saturday, October 26, 2013

We Need to Stop Celebrating Nick Saban

In high school, I was the worst player on my baseball team that was winless for two years. 

I’m not exaggerating. I could not throw, hit, field, or run the bases well. I was an excellent encourager.

To my coach, my inept abilities on the field embodied our team’s inept abilities to come within ten runs of the other team. He went particularly ballistic on my failures, and berated me during games in front of my teammates. The upper-classmen followed suit, and I was the butt of most of their jokes.

I’m a grown man now. I’ve got a wife, two kids, a dog, a mortgage, and all the other normal things grown men have. But I still think of what happened when I was 17, walking off the field at Maryville College with my coach screaming in my ear because I didn’t run to third when I had the chance. I can still see the look on his face, enraged by what I couldn’t do.

Will West’s (WNML) rant about Nick Saban brought me back to that moment on the field. Back to that dehumanizing moment, like I might as well be the shit on the bottom of his shoe. Men like Saban don’t need to be celebrated and worshipped. They need to be stopped. His verbal abuse of players is no different than Mike Rice at Rutgers. It’s just as hurtful, if not more so.

We need to stop accepting this type of behavior as “tough love”. It’s not. It’s abuse of athletes who do not have the ability to speak up for themselves. 

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