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Day Three: SEC Media Days 2016

Photo By: SEC Network/ESPN

Day three of SEC Media Days 2016 brought about the two biggest personalities in the Southeastern Conference to The Wynfrey Hotel: University of Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban and University of Arkansas Head Coach Bret Bielema.

Nick Saban was the first coach at the podium.

He spoke for 30 minutes about his quarterback battle, lack of a returning running back with considerable playing experience and the budding superstars in wide recievers Calvin Ridley and Ardarius Stewart.

The major fireworks took place after Saban left the lectern.

Saban and the SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum debated the decision not to suspend Cam Robinson. The hosts believed the assembled media was afraid to rattle Nick’s cage. Paul asked Saban the question and Nick said he didn’t care about critics offering views.

“If they really did something wrong, they would have been charged with something,” Saban said.

Finebaum called that “debatable.” 

“Do we condone the behavior? No,” Saban said to Finebaum. “But you’re innocent until you’re proven guilty in this country regardless if you get convicted in the media or not, which is what you’re doing.”

Finebaum responded by asking why he was not suspending either player.

“Because I’m not going to convict him in public,” Saban said. “I was going to get criticized by you and the public and the media because I’m not going to suspend him and I don’t really care about that. That’s the end of the conversation.”

Finebaum asked the correct follow-up question, inferring something that Saban had definitely implied:
“Do you think they were persecuting the football players?”

Robinson and cornerback Hootie Jones are Louisiana natives who chose to play their college football at Alabama, not LSU.

Saban didn’t answer that direct question but didn’t deny the characterization of his feelings.

“There’s just a lot of questions there that are reasons there weren’t charges brought against these guys,” Saban said.

After the SEC Network went to commercial, Saban aimed an even angrier tirade at Finebaum. On his radio show later, Finebaum said based on their conversations, Saban “believes the police were carrying water for LSU.”

Meanwhile…

The loquacious Bret Bielema followed Saban. What Saban lacked in soundbites, Bielema made up for it with witty zingers and one-liners that would make the “Ol’ Ball Coach” proud.

Comic relief for a combustible Day Three of SEC Media Days 2016.

 

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