Nick Saban defended the Alabama football policy of giving players second (or more) chances, but was not defensive as he answered questions about the weekend arrest of Jonathan Taylor and Taylor’s quick dismissal from the team. Taylor, a defensive lineman who came to Bama from junior college after he had been dismissed from Georgia after being charged with domestic violence, was arrested on the same charge in Tuscaloosa Saturday. Within hours of the announcement of the arrest, it also was announced that Taylor had been dismissed from Alabama.
On Monday, following the Crimson Tide’s spring practice, Saban met with reporters for the first time since the incidents. After discussing the progress of the football team for a few minutes, he addressed the Taylor situation. And every question thereafter addressed the Taylor incident.
Saban said the policy has had more successes than failures and that he would continue to try to help players.
Here is the transcript of the press briefing related to Jonathan Taylor, beginning with Saban’s opening statement:
“I’m sure everyone got the statement from yesterday on Jonathan Taylor's dismissal from the team. I think it's very unfortunate but he came here with some very specific guidelines and zero tolerance and obviously he didn't live up to that. And while we've created many opportunities for players through the years and sometimes those things have worked out extremely well. We're sad to say in this case it didn't and we all take responsibility for that. We have a good program here at Alabama and we have a lot of good players who have done a lot of good things in this community on our team I how they've represented the university and I feel like we have a lot of people who have positively impacted players. And though I'm very, very sorry about the way this worked out, we're going to continue In the future to create opportunities for people who have the right stuff, and obviously it's not going to always work out but we're also going to stay focused on all the good things that we've done in the past and how that has helped our players in the past be successful in life.”
Does Taylor's arrest change your stance on players who have been arrested for domestic violence?
?NS: “I think you learn from every experience and we certainly learned some things from this one. I certainly don't condone that kind of behavior, especially when it comes to how females are treated, and that's something we try to create a lot of awareness for with our players and e would certainly be very cautious about any player that any character problem, especially something like this, would be something that we would be very careful about in the future. But I will say this. We will continue to try to create opportunities for players and try to help them be successful, and even in Jonathan Taylor's case, if there's anything we can do to help him overcome his issues and problem we will still certainly try and help him be successful. But right now the guy just can't be on our football team.”
Do you feel like you made a mistake offering Jonathan Taylor another chance??
NS: “No, I'm not sorry for giving him an opportunity, I'm sorry for the way things worked out. I'm not apologizing for the opportunity we gave him. We wanted to try and help the guy make it work, it didn't work We're sorry it didn't work, we're sorry there was an incident, we're sorry for the people that were involved in the incident. But we're not apologizing for what we did and we're continue to create opportunities for people in the future and we'll very, very closely evaluate anyone's character that we allow into the program because we all have a responsibility to represent the University of Alabama in a first class way not to mention how we should represent ourselves and our family.”
Will the Taylor incident have any affect on admission requirements or on who you let into the program moving forward??
NS: “I think as an institution we would always really look at how we (do) things in the future. I think you learn from every situation, we certainly learned from this situation and I think our administration has as well. We'll be very cautious about how we go about any guy who has any kind of issues in his past, but you know, I'd like to say and emphasize the many, many players who have had problems in the past that have been a part of our program who have turned out to be outstanding people, have represented the institution very well, have graduated from The University, have changed their legacy and their life because they were involved in the program, and I don't want to overlook some of those positive things that we've been able to do as an institution together by the programs that we've created here that have helped players overcome adversity and have a chance to be successful.”
When you talk about the second chance requirements, what were some of the specific things to earn his spot? ?
NS: “He did everything we asked him to do here. He had a lot of psychological profiling, he had a lot of psychological counseling, he never missed a session, he did everything he was supposed to do. So we're sorry that there was an incident and we levied the consequences and I think that's all there is to talk about when it comes to that. We have 125 other players on our team who are doing really well, and there's really nothing else to talk about. Jonathan Taylor came here, he was given another opportunity, it didn't work out, it failed, we're sorry. It's time to move on.”?
What was the vetting process - who did you talk to and what did you learn??
NS: “I’m not really going to answer all those questions. I spoke to everybody that had an opportunity to give us some idea of what kind of young man that Jonathan Taylor was. And is. And you know, I still think he's a good person, I think he has a problem and a circumstance that is not acceptable. And that is his problem. And he has been certainly dealt with relative to this problem, so I'm going to say one more time, I don't know what else we need to talk about here.”
Did Taylor specifically have domestic violence counseling??
NS: “Yes, we did all of those things with him here. There was a set program, he did