Does Nick Saban Think Residents of Alabama—the State Where He Coaches—Are Racists?

COMMENTARY Election Integrity

Does Nick Saban Think Residents of Alabama—the State Where He Coaches—Are Racists?

Feb 2nd, 2022 3 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Hans A. von Spakovsky

Election Law Reform Initiative and Senior Legal Fellow

Hans von Spakovsky is an authority on a wide range of issues—including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration.
Head Coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks on before the SEC Championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs on December 04, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

After coaching the Crimson Tide to a loss in the NCAA championship, Nick Saban apparently decided his expertise in football extended to how elections should be run.

Yet all of these improvements that Alabama has made in its election laws would have been banned and prohibited by the federal legislation that Saban supports.

He is just repeating the talking points of the Left.

After coaching the Crimson Tide to a 33-18 loss in the NCAA championship, Nick Saban apparently decided his expertise in football extended to how elections should be run. Along with four other prominent sports figures, Saban signed a letter to Sen. Joe Manchin telling him he should help “enact” the reckless election legislation being pushed by Sen. Chuck Schumer in the Senate, which couldn’t happen unless Manchin voted to gut the filibuster rule that protects the minority in the Senate from the tyranny of the majority.

Alabama has implemented reasonable, common-sense election reforms in recent years that protect voters and the integrity and security of the election process. These reforms include an ID requirement for voting in person or by absentee ballot, as well as requiring a witness signature on an absentee ballot and an excuse to use an absentee ballot such as sickness or disability. 

These types of requirements were passed by state legislators elected by, and representing the majority of, voters in the state in which Saban coaches, voters who are no doubt all fans of the Crimson Tide (except when they are playing the Auburn University Tigers in their annual gridiron contest).

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Yet all of these and many other improvements that Alabama has made in its election laws would have been banned and prohibited by the federal legislation that Saban supports. Fortunately for all American voters, no matter what their partisan preferences or affiliations are, this legislation, which would have wreaked havoc on the honesty and fairness of our elections, was recently defeated in the Senate.

Yet the message that President Joe Biden gave in a recent speech, and that many other Democrats and liberals have been pushing, is that anyone who opposed this dangerous federal legislation and supported state election rules such as Alabama’s ID requirement was in the same camp as white segregationists like George Wallace, Bull Connor, and Jefferson Davis. Does Nick Saban believe that all of his fans and supporters in Alabama are racists?

What makes sports figures like Saban venture into fraught political issues that they probably know nothing about? Chances are, if a reporter asked Saban to list 10 things that the legislation he is supporting would do, he would be unable to answer.

Is it the peer pressure of woke culture and the modern media world that causes this behavior? Or is it pure hubris, stemming from a false sense of invincibility that convinces public figures to comment on any social controversy that catches their eye? Or are they, in Saban’s case, making sure they are preserving their coaching future in the NCAA, which is filled with colleges where political correctness prevails, or perhaps the NFL, which today is imbued with cancel culture and supports Marxist, racist organizations like Black Lives Matter?

To the average Alabamian, regardless of their race, their state’s election rules on things like voter ID and absentee ballots seem like common sense — because they are. They toe the line between providing just access to the polls while ensuring fairness and integrity in the state’s elections. In fact, Alabama ranks second in the nation on the Heritage Foundation’s Election Integrity Scorecard. 

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Yet Coach Saban claims our democratic principles “are now under intentional and unprecedented challenge” as “some 20 states have enacted dozens of laws that restrict voting access and allow local officials or state legislatures to interfere inappropriately with Federal election outcomes.” In other words, Saban believes that Democratic politicians in Congress know better about the maintenance of democracy than his fellow Alabamians and thinks a federal law should override their choices. Talk about an attack on democracy!

His claim that 20 states are “restricting voting access” and allowing officials to “interfere inappropriately” in election outcomes is also totally false. He is just repeating the talking points of the Left. We’d bet you that he has not read a single one of the bills he is referring to in the 20 states or the federal legislation he is supporting either.

So, here’s our recommendation for the coach: if he is so keen on being politically correct and an activist on an issue he likely knows nothing about, perhaps he should switch universities and coach, say, Harvard’s football team instead, where he can be on the field and on the woke culture soap box at the same time. 

This piece originally appeared in PJ Media