The honeymoon is over. That little lovefest they were having in Alabama has ended. The question is, does anybody outside of two media members care?
Nick Saban, Alabama's $4-million-a-year man, cancelled an interview last weekend with CNNSI's Stewart Mandel, and he did it with style. Mandel reported that in canceling, Saban barked at an athletics department official, "I don't have time for this shit."
Mandel then called Saban a "jerk" in his article before smoothing things over by saying Saban is "exactly what the doctor ordered for the Alabama football program." Mandel and Saban have since worked things out.
Montgomery Advertiser columnist Josh Moon was not as kind to Saban after the coach refused to make players available to the media last week. Wrote Moon: "Let's be real here, Nick Saban's reputation is mostly hype. He was overrated at Michigan State, overrated at LSU and rated about right in Miami. He's an average coach who, through mostly media attention, has garnered this reputation of being a great coach."
Moon continued: "The worst part of it is Saban's unjustified sense of self-importance, as if he somehow isn't just a football coach. Oh, he can spin that and say he's molding young people, shaping youth or whatever. But the bottom line is that he's not saving the world out there on a football field. He's coaching a game."
Mobile Press-Register columnist Paul Finebaum defended Saban and said fans don't give a hoot about the media. "Newspapers are not held in nearly the regard of yesteryear. Besides, with talk radio, the Internet and everyone on your block having their own blog, there are myriad ways to get information faster than your daily newspaper. It may not be nearly as accurate, but hungry fans don't seem to really care anymore, as long as they get something, anything."
Mandel may have a gripe, but the in-state reporters are just pissed cause Saban's very tight-lipped and short with media, which means that they actually have to do some work for their stories.
That Moon guy is just crazy. He said that Saban's large salary is due to the media hype. Yep, one MNC and 2 SEC titles in 5 years at LSU (which hadn't won a MNC in 50 years prior to Saban) is all hype.
Saying they're pissed because they have to do more work is innaccurate and misguided. Fact is, Saban and other coaches shut down access to the point where there's nothing reporters can do to provide content to their readers. Colleges have very strict rules about interviewing athletes, and coaches like Saban designate very short windows. Most reporters that get pissed about guys like Saban are pissed because they're not allowed to do more work.
Then, of course, the fan base blames the reporter for the lack of quotes. Not the coach who makes the rules.
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