It appears we have some Alabama-on-Alabama shade being thrown.
After Crimson Tide freshman football player Tony Mitchell was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute last week, reportedly driving at 141 mph as he attempted to flee from cops, head football coach Nick Saban suspended him from the team indefinitely.
Saban then issued a strong statement that some believed to be a shot at the school’s basketball coach, Nate Oats.
“Everybody’s got an opportunity to make choices and decisions. There’s no such thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Saban said. “You have to be responsible about who you’re with, who you’re around, what you do and who you associate yourself with, along with the situations you put yourself in.”
The eye-opening part of the quote may be when Saban said “there’s no such thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time” – as that is nearly the exact quote Oats gave when his star basketball player, Brandon Miller, was accused of bringing the gun to a murder scene involving former Alabama basketball player Darius Miles.
Miles, who was charged with capital murder over the January shooting death of Jamea Jonae Harris in Tuscaloosa, allegedly texted Miller – the SEC Player of the Year – to bring the gun to the scene, though Miller was not charged with any crime and faced no discipline from Oats.
“Wrong spot at the wrong time,” Oats said at a press conference when asked about Miller’s involvement.
So, was Saban’s quote a direct shot at his basketball counterpart?
For Saban’s part, he immediately suspended Mitchell, a four-star recruit, after police found 226 grams of marijuana, $7,000 in cash and a loaded gun in his car last week.
There is, of course, a staggering difference between the timing and circumstances in the two cases.
Mitchell is a freshman defensive back who has yet to be on the field for the Crimson Tide, while Miller is arguably the best basketball player in the country.
Mitchell’s arrest happened during the offseason, while Miller was not arrested and his team was in the middle of the season and is still in the midsts of a possible championship run.
It’s fair to wonder if Saban would have taken such a hard line if it was his star quarterback that got arrested on a game week, but one will never know.