Hours after Jimbo Fisher blasted Nick Saban and labeled him a narcissist after questionable comments from the Alabama coach, Saban apologized to not just the Texas A&M coach but also Deion Sanders.
“I should have never singled anybody out,” Saban said on ESPNU radio’s Off-Campus. “That was a mistake and I apologize for that part of it."
He later added, “I really wasn’t saying anybody did anything illegal in using NIL. That was something assumed by what I said. It’s not what I meant. There’s nothing illegal about doing this. It’s the system. That’s the issue I have.”
Saban not only said the Aggies “bought every player,” but he also went after Jackson State on Wednesday. Saban said, via Khari Thompson of the Mississippi Clarion Ledger, “Jackson State paid a guy a million dollars last year that was a really good Division I player to come to school. It was in the paper. They bragged about it. Nobody did anything about it.”
The Alabama coach did not specify which player he was referring to, but it likely was Travis Hunter, the top recruit in the country who was originally committed to Florida State before flipping to Jackson State in December.
Sanders expressed his frustration via a tweet on Wednesday, saying, in part, "You best believe I will address that LIE Coach SABAN told tomorrow. We as a PEOPLE don’t have to pay our PEOPLE to play with our PEOPLE.” As for Fisher, he called a press conference on Thursday.
“It’s a shame that we have to do this. It’s really despicable,” Fisher said Thursday. “It’s despicable that somebody can say things about somebody and, more importantly, 17-year-old kids. You’re taking shots at 17-year-old kids and their families. That they broke state laws, that we bought every player on this group. We never bought anybody. No rules were broken. Nothing was done wrong.”
But, Fisher did not stop there. He later added, “Some people think they’re God. Go dig into how God did his deal, you may find out about a lot of things that you don’t want to know. We build him up to be the czar of college football. Go dig into his past.”
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey issued a public reprimand for both Saban and Fisher Thursday afternoon, saying in part that “A hallmark of the SEC is intense competition within an environment of collaboration. Public criticism of any kind does not resolve issues and creates a distraction from seeking solutions for the issues facing college athletics today.
“There is tremendous frustration concerning the absence of consistent rules from state to state related to name, image and likeness. We need to work together to find solutions and that will be our focus at the upcoming SEC Spring Meetings.”
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For more Alabama coverage, go to Bama Central