Friday, January 05, 2007

Saban: Does He Believe His Own Lies?

Want some of Nick's homemade lemonade?

We all know that Nick Saban jumped ship in Miami after weeks of denials of interest in the Alabama job. Nobody is surprised, and most aren't even indignant over the ongoing lie. Heck, looking back, the press conference in which Saban feigned being hurt and insulted by the question is now just a wonderful example of Saban's on camera ability to act with the best of them. They guy has a future in Hollywood when he finally burns every possible bridge in the football world.

Saban isn't the first coach to flat out lie about another job, and he sure won't be the last. Coaches have successfully conditioned us to accept that they will job hop in the most obscene of ways. And then act like nothing happened.

This Saban incident is a bit different, though. Not so much for the lie or the fact that he is heading back to college to supposedly help instill values in his players (cough, cough), but for the fact the he believes that he is above the truth and that he is some sort of victim in all this.

''I'm disappointed that I'm being victimized a little bit here,'' Saban said . ``That's really not the person I am. If you look at 35 years of work that I've done in this profession and my marriage and everything else, that's not who I am. That's not what I've done."

''When you lie to somebody, you're trying to deceive them,'' Saban said. ``I wasn't trying to deceive anybody. I was focused on the season, and I was working.''

Interesting stuff. So, basically, Saban didn't "lie" to the world, because he wasn't trying to deceive anyone? Really?! His saying that he wasn't interested and wouldn't take the Alabama job was not an act of deception? It wasn't an attempt to make people believe that he actually wasn't going to take the job, so they would leave him alone? And he is a victim because he is being portrayed as a liar after being untruthful? I guess in his mind it's all good, since the untruth that he told was something done in support of the job at hand.

''I really do regret that I was pinned into the corner,'' said Saban, who vehemently denied having any conversations with Alabama officials before the end of the season. ``I regret that there was not some kind of way that I could answer a question [like] that.''

Pinned into a corner? The implication is that he was forced to lie. No alternative. He couldn't say he was interested in the job. Obviously, that would be the incorrect thing to do, from a political standpoint. So, like a trapped animal fighting for his life, Saban was forced to go against everything he stands for and everything he has built the last 35 years upon...and lie. How painful it must have been for him! The pain is clear in his regrets: that he was pinned into a corner and if only there was some way he could answer the question. No regret that it tarnished those 35 years you worked so hard at, Nick?

What about just saying that he only wants to discuss THIS season. Not commenting. I mean, why not? He knew that the lie wasn't going to stop the questions. If the guy isn't a liar, if the guy really has built the last 35 years on not lying; then it should have been easy to just say no comment, right? Unless...well, unless the lie actually felt pretty natural for him.

And maybe it does. Saban didn't leave Michigan St or LSU in completely upfront circumstances either.

Either Saban is delusional and really doesn't believe that what he does is "lying"; or he just doesn't care and believes it will all wash under the bridge.

Either way, how can fans or recruits take him seriously when he says, "My next stop will be Lake Burton. That's where they made 'Deliverance' and they don't have a football team there."

The implication being that 'Bama will be his last stop.

We all know that big time college football is a sordid game. We all have seen coaches stretch the truth to its very limits when it was to their team's or their own benefit. No surprises here whatsoever. Hypocrisy abounds when these same guys demand loyalty from those above them and their players.

We accept the fact that it probably wasn't in Saban's best interest at the time to admit that he was flirting with Alabama. Everyone gets that. But Saban isn't satisfied with it. Nope. Nick has to absolve himself of responsibility and portray the situation as being limited to one choice: the lie. That it is not his fault he had to lie. And that it is unfair to call him a liar...after he was forced to lie. He is the victim here. And that is where Nick loses us.

It's one thing for him to piss on us and tell us it's raining. Hell, we get pissed on everyday. It's quite another for him to hand us a glass full of piss and tell us "it's lemonade, drink up!"

The only "victims" here are going to be the recruits that buy into Saban's line and are asked to give him their loyalty.

In return, they very well might be served up a nice glass of Saban lemonade.


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