Earlier this week, Washington State head coach Mike Leach, when asked about national anthem protests that had swept across NFL games over the weekend, stated “I’m proud of this country and would stand for the anthem and respect the flag.” His contemporary at Alabama has made a very powerful statement in the opposite direction.
On his radio call-in show Thursday night, Nick Saban was asked by a retired military veteran for the head coach’s take on the anthem protests and if he’d allow former Crimson Tide players who took part in the protests to return to his sidelines. The most poignant portion of Saban’s response?
“I have my opinion in terms of what I would do and how I would do it,” Saban said. “I’m not one to ever disrespect the symbols that represent the values of our country. I also respect individual differences that other people have and I think they have the right to express those — whether it’s our players or somebody else, whether I agree or disagree, I think they have a right to do that.”
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) September 29, 2017
That response was very much in line with what Saban had said earlier in the week on the subject.
“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,” Saban was quoted by al.com as saying Monday. “But I also respect everyone’s rights not to censored in terms of the way they express their beliefs. I’m just a coach. I don’t have the answers to all the questions.”