The criticism launched at Nick Saban for accusing the Texas A&M Aggies – and Jackson State’s Deion Sanders – of paying for players isn’t sitting well with the Alabama coach, according to Paul Finebaum.
The SEC Network analyst, who make an appearance on “McElroy and Cubelic In the morning” on WJOX 94.5-FM in Birmingham, said the backlash is “eating away” at Saban.
“I’ve seen more criticism of Nick Saban in the last five days than I have in the last 15 years,” Finebaum said. “And I think that’s something that’s eating away at him. He knows whether he admits it was a mistake, it was inarticulate, or an unforced error. He knows what he did last Wednesday night in Birmingham blew up on him.
“When you’re a perfectionist just like coach Saban is, that drives you crazy. You understand that. You’re not exactly a potted plant when you’re trying to be as good as you can be. I think you have to wonder what toll has this taken. Nick Saban, for all the conversation that he doesn’t care, or pay attention to anything, he does care.
“He cares what people say. He cares only because he knows his players are reading and hearing it, and he knows that future recruits are reading and hearing it. That’s why he cares. You can say Saban well, Saban won last week, well, the better question would be Saban would also be in better shape if this hadn’t been an issue.”
Saban apologized for the comments, and SEC commissioner Greg Sankey followed with a public reprimand for both Saban and Jimbo Fisher. Despite the reprimand, Fisher double downed Monday.
Sankey’s comments, however, on NIL deals may have shed some light on where he stands in the feud.
Mark Heim is a sports reporter for The Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Heim.