The way Nick Saban addressed Tony Mitchell’s recent suspension from Alabama — one caused by a March 15 arrest in his home state of Florida in which he was charged with marijuana possession and intent to sell and/or deliver, per the Holmes County Sheriff’s Department — was similar to the way Nate Oats addressed several of his Alabama basketball players being at the scene of the shooting death of a 23-year-old woman.
But in the inverse.
Tony Mitchell has been suspended from the team until Alabama gathers more information about the situation. “Everybody’s got an opportunity to make choices and decisions. There’s no such thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) March 20, 2023
At a March 20 press conference, Saban said there was “no such thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time.” That phrasing was how Oats described Brandon Miller’s presence at the scene of Jamea Harris’ death.
“We knew about [Miller’s involvement],” Oats said during a February 21 press conference. “Can’t control everything anybody does outside of practice. Nobody knew that was going to happen. College kids are out, Brandon hasn’t been in any type of trouble nor is he in any type of trouble in this case. Wrong spot at the wrong time.”
Twitter Reacts to Nick Saban’s Tony Mitchell Comments
Saban fired up many on Twitter when he made comments so similar to what Oats said, but with the opposite message.
Fans took to Twitter in droves with varied reactions to Alabama’s football and basketball coaches being at odds philosophically when it comes to being at the “wrong place at the wrong time.”
— EverythingTNsports (@NsportsT) March 20, 2023
Alabama PR team right now pic.twitter.com/vodviHQ5Sh
— Classless Volunteer (@Classlesvol) March 20, 2023
At least one coach there has some integrity. Oats is a disgrace.
— Kelby Sutterfield (@KelbyActual) March 20, 2023
No doubt Saban is letting it be known that he believes Oats’ handling of his situation was very poor.
— John (@Looney_Hog) March 21, 2023
Seems like he chose those words very intentionally…
— Andrew Lewis (@AndrewLewis68) March 20, 2023
Oh wow!! Saban runs that place and he should. He showed the AD and Oates how it’s done.
— Dunbear (@DDunbear) March 21, 2023
— Noah Golden (@cantbeatgold) March 20, 2023
It remains to be seen if Saban’s phrasing was intentional or not. Reporters at future Alabama press conferences figure to press the Crimson Tide coach, though they should do so at their own risk given Saban’s propensity to clown those who ask questions he deems “rat poison.”
Nate Oats’ Apology Following Infamous Press Conference
Following the February 21 press conference in which the Alabama basketball coach made his infamous comments about Miller, Oats issued an apology in an official written statement.
“We were informed by law enforcement of other student-athletes being in the vicinity, and law enforcement has repeatedly told us that no other student-athletes were suspects,” Oats said. “They were witnesses only. Our understanding is that they have all been fully truthful and cooperative.”
Oats said he didn’t intend to downplay the situation in any way.
“In no way did I intend to downplay the seriousness of this situation or the tragedy of that night,” Oats said. “My prayers continue to go out to Jamea Harris’s family.”