Unsavory behavior by fans at this past weekend’s Tennessee-Ole Miss game has sparked discussions around the SEC about how to better ensure the safety of those on the field.
On Monday, an important voice in the conference gave his thoughts on the matter and revealed that even he had an unfortunate interaction with patrons earlier this season.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban spoke about crowd control during his media session on Monday after Saturday’s game between Ole Miss and Tennessee. The end of the contest at Neyland Stadium was marred by fans throwing bottles, golf balls and other objects onto the field at players and coaches.
Saban didn’t give any specifics as to what the conference should do to police crowd behavior, but did say that it’s up to individual institutions and programs to create safe environments.
“I’ve said this before, we’re in the entertainment business. There’s a lot of people that come to the games. They have a lot of passion and excitement for what they do. Hopefully as institutions and fans, we’ll always do that in a positive way,” Saban said, via Charlie Potter of 247Sports.
The Alabama head coach then revealed that he sustained a fairly large bruise when Texas A&M students stormed the field after beating his Crimson Tide at Kyle Field in Week 6. Saban seems to be making the best of the golf-ball sized mark, calling it motivation for him to do a better job moving forward.
“I can always just look at that as a reminder of what it feels like to be in that situation and motivate myself to try to do a better job with our players,” Saban said, per Potter.
It’s unclear exactly how Saban got banged up, but the chaos that resulted in him sustaining a pretty sizable bruise will definitely get the attention of the SEC. To start, the Crimson Tide head coach’s remarks were enough to grab the interest of the college football world on Monday.
Asked Nick Saban what it’s like to be involved when fans storm the field and if the SEC is doing enough to protect coaches and fans. He holds up his arm and shows bruise he got at Texas A&M. Says it’s up to institutions to create a safe environment.
— Aaron Suttles (@AaronSuttles) October 18, 2021
Nick Saban shows off gnarly bruise he says he received after fans stormed the field following Alabama’s loss to Texas A&M while answering questions regarding player/fan safety after the mess in Tennessee Saturday. pic.twitter.com/nmMY3gQMwP
— Trill Pinarski (@philpinarski) October 18, 2021
Rushing the field is no joke
Nick Saban shows off the bruise from Bama’s loss to A&Mpic.twitter.com/PxB2DSFIMH
— BetOnline.ag (@betonline_ag) October 18, 2021
Showing golf ball
sized things at
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) October 18, 2021
— Wes Blankenship (@Wes_nship) October 18, 2021
Although most people were shocked to learn what happened, other Twitter users were a little more skeptical. There’s no direct evidence that the Alabama head coach was injured intentionally by a student or fan in College Station, which some were quick to point out.
Saban is like 87. Old people bruise when they sneeze too hard. Get this geezer out of here https://t.co/7jtD0jdbxp
— Barstool Texas A&M (@BarstoolTexasAM) October 18, 2021
Thoughts and prayers for Saban 🙏 https://t.co/aUjDL6KlBp
— Barstool College Football Show (@BarstoolCFB) October 18, 2021
Saban’s bruise might not have come from direct contact with someone rushing the field, but the activity most definitely created an unsafe environment for everyone involved. Storming the field has always been a well-liked tradition in college football, but after the events of the last two years, it might be time to reconsider if it’s worth it.
Fans will have to wait and see if the SEC takes new measures to prevent unsafe situations from developing in the future.
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