Quick reaction: Le Batard interview

UPDATE: Check out Eight In the Box for his thoughts on Le Batard on WJOX. I enjoyed the comparison of Le Batard to Ahab!

WJOX’s mid-day program the Roundtable discussed Dan Le Batard. The crux of the interview was the Miami columnist’s opinion that Saban was a jerk to people.

Unfortunately after Le Batard left, the roundtable crew turned the discussion into a survey over whether it matters to fans if someone is a jerk but wins football games.

Of course it doesn’t matter to most fans. But I think the question is much deeper than the talk show hosts really examined.

It isn’t wrong or immoral for someone to be an introvert (like one of the hosts wisely described Nick Saban). But it would be wrong if Saban is a liar. The real smear from Le Batard and Miami media isn’t about Saban’s lack of inter-personal skills, rather it is slandering Saban’s integrity.

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Ask Alabama fans if integrity is important, then most fans if they were honest would say following the Mike Dubose era an emphatic YES. Integrity is critical.

But being someone who isn’t warm to everyone isn’t a crime; it isn’t a sin. It doesn’t show a lack of integrity to be a dictator. In fact, telling people what to do and how to do it is the mark of any good leader. Saban may not like dealing with people. Maybe he is shy. Maybe he is overbearing with demands. Maybe he requires his secretary to bring his coffee with three packs of sugar and not four. Big deal.

Being autocratic in a work environment isn’t wrong—but Le Batard and other journalists know there is such a negative connotation with words like dictator that they can impune Saban’s character by simply attaching the term. And that’s the real issue here. Once again we see the sports media is less about fact, and more about bluster.

As a note, I think being a jerk isn’t a big deal. I think you can still be difficult and have integrity. Integrity is the big thing. Le Batard provided one example of why Saban was a “liar,” but I wonder how much of that was truth and how much was innuendo.

6 Comments

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  1. 1
    Larry

    I take issue with LeBatard’s own integrity. There is an obvious double standard. Don Shula behaved, possible worse, when he left Baltimore for the Fins. Does he call Saint Don out for that? No, he does not. The issue is that Saban did not confer with LeBatard and let him “know” what was what, thus making the sportscaster look foolish.

    Ego is a terrible thing to waste…..

  2. 3
    Kevin

    It’s still obvious that it wouldn’t matter to Bama fans if Saban was an axe-murderer, so long as he won games. This is an unbelievable, twisted justification of Saban’s blatant lies. THAT is what offended people in Miami. They didn’t think he was a great coach (and he’s not, people). They hate him for the WAY he left. Just the same way Bama fans still hang Franchione in effigy for the WAY he left Bama.

    I said when Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa that I never wanted to hear another single negative comment about Franchione from Bama fans after what Saban did to Wayne Huizenga and the Dolphins. And it’s still the way I feel. There is an obvious, GLARING double standard in the minds of Bama fans.

  3. 4
    Al C. Hemist

    Saban, an axe murder? Wow. That is a pretty strong statement. Axe murder. I guess if he actually killed someone with an axe I’d have to cut him loose.

    What cracks me up is how people try to act like the guy is responsible for the genocide in Darfur. If the world economy goes into recession will it be Saban’s fault? I heard Saban is helping Iran develop their nuclear program. The housing crash in Miami has Saban’s fingerprints all over it.

    The thing about him not being a good coach, well, that’s just silly.

  4. 5
    TideDruid

    Kevin,

    There were plenty of Alabama fans that smashed the Fran bobble heads. Want to know why? Well, the day he left was the same day those dolls came out.

    Alabama fans didn’t like Fran for a while after he left; however, Fran never had to endure a national media barrage for him leaving after his “hold the rope” statements. Fran never had to deal with people sneaking in tape recorders hoping to catch a slip up.

    BTW, Fran never wrote a thank you note to his former players from his older job. I think there are plenty of Bama fans today who really don’t blame Fran for leaving. His contract wasn’t proper and the BOT (and others) were getting pushy.

    I’m amazed at how people hide behind that “Fran had to deal with the same thing too!” without actually considering the facts. Fran has more of a gypsy history than Saban, yet never got called a gun for hire.

  5. 6
    Ethan

    I think Saban in very misunderstood. I honestly don’t think he is a bad guy, I think he is just so intense on football that he sometimes comes across as a jerk. The only think Saban really cares about when he is working is football. He could care less about the media, and I dont blame him. I don’t expect my coach to be a good PR person, I expect him to be an expert in football. The Miami thing- get over it. He didn’t handle it perfectly, but again he was just focused on football. All he wanted to do was finish out the season with Miami and shut up all of the reporters asking him if he was leaving. Le Bastard is just trying to squeeze out all the popularity he can get from sensationalism and yellow journalism.

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