A Good Column, Spoiled
In my other blogging "job," I write about college football, specifically Auburn University and the rest of the Southeastern Conference. In that capacity, I got an email today linking to John Feinstein's WaPo column regarding Alabama coach Nick "I am not going to be the Alabama coach" Saban and his recent bizarre commentary:
it is impossible not to begin today with one of the worst people in all of sports -- and this takes in a lot of territory -- Alabama football coach Nick Saban.
Saban is the highest paid coach ($4 million a year) in college football, having taken the Alabama job last winter after categorically denying he was leaving the Miami Dolphins.
Okay, coaches do that. They shouldn't do that but they do. Saban was failing miserably in Miami, he had already proven he could win big in the Southeastern Conference and he was clearly someone who was meant to coach at the college level where tyrants are applauded as long as they win.
Alabama finished the season 6-6, losing its last four games after coming within a play of upsetting LSU (Saban's old team) when the Crimson Tide was 6-2. At that point, even after the LSU loss, Saban was being treated the way he likes to be treated: as the savior.
Then came losses to Mississippi State and Louisiana-Monroe. That's not a typo, Alabama, coached by the savior, lost to Louisiana-Monroe at home, in the stadium named for Bear Bryant.
A few days after the ULM loss Saban, who can't stand the media, spoke to the media. In talking about the losses to Mississippi State and ULM he brought up 9-11. And Pearl Harbor.
That's right, in talking about two lost football games he brought up 9-11 and Pearl Harbor. In Saban-world, those were "catastrophes." So too were the back-to-back losses in football games. Saban went on to say that catastrophes could be turning points in history and this "catastrophe," would be, he hoped, a turning point in the history of Alabama football.
Okay, let's just say this: NO ONE should be allowed to mention catastrophes in which thousands of people died when talking about football -- or any sport. Not ever. And certainly not someone who is working at what is supposed to be an institution of higher learning. What kind of message is he sending to his players? If he makes a comment like this in public, what in the world is he saying to his players behind closed doors?
So far, so good. Heck, I agree with everything Feinstein's said up to this point. Saban is a vastly overrated and overpaid jackass, and his "historical" comparison of Pearl Harbor and September 11, 2001 to losing a couple of football game was as beyond the pale as... well, this:
A couple of months ago the right wing media become apoplectic when a liberal organization took out an ad criticizing the leader of the American forces in Iraq. How, they screamed, can you be critical of the man who represents the men and women who are putting themselves in danger every day in Iraq?
Where are those people right now? Why aren't they screaming about a football coach comparing lost football games to thousands of lost LIVES? Where is the perspective?
Speaking for myself, I didn't even consider blogging about Saban's dumb remarks in the political sphere, because they weren't worthy of that level of analysis. Saban is a monomaniacal football coach who can't see beyond the horizon of his own tiny empire. He and his dumbassery are not worth the time to criticize in the arena of ideas (although I did take the opportunity to note others smacking him around in the arena of sports).
If I had gone out of my way to inject politics into a sports story, to forward my own agenda on a story that actually had nothing to do with military or political reality, why, I'd be just like...
... John Feinstein. And Nick Saban, for that matter.
Feinstein's linking of the outrageous MoveOn ad attacking General Petraeus (and other vapid political commentary in the same column) to Saban's idiocy is not one iota less asinine than Saban's analogy, and in his big-media arrogance, Feinstein is just as oblivious to that fact as Saban was to the utterly inappropriate nature of the "Pearl Harbor" comments.
You want to opine on politics, John, do it in the editorial section. Nobody reads your sports columns because they want to know what you think about Iraq. You work for the Washington Post; we already know what you think about Iraq.