Nick Saban is being hypocritical when it comes to “pimp” comments

TUSCALOOSA, AL - APRIL 17: Coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts during the Alabama spring game at Bryant Denny Stadium on April 17, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images)

That didn’t take long. Yesterday I was front and center on the Nick Saban-is-right-bandwagon, but this morning I already find myself trying not to break my leg while jumping off it.

That’s because I remembered who was doing all the talking in this growing discussion about player agents, how they interact with college athletes and what the NFL should do to help remedy the situation.

It’s Nick Saban. The same Nick Saban who left LSU high and dry to take the NFL’s money in Miami, only to stick it up the Dolphins’ you-know-what when he got home sick for the NCAA. Now he’s blasting the NFL for not taking a more active role in getting agents to stop pestering students? Oh, brother.

As I wrote yesterday, the NFL should help. College football is where the NFL gets its talent and if its little brother needs assistance dealing with a problem, then big brother should step in. As Saban noted in one of his rants, if an agent breaks a rule that leads to a player losing his eligibility, the NFL could suspend that agent’s license. (Assuming of course that the NFL can even do that, which at this point remains a little unclear.)

But let’s keep in mind that little brother makes billions of dollars a year and therefore, can deal with its problem on its own if it comes down to it. And the root of the issue isn’t the NFL or even the agents themselves – it’s the players who continue to hold their hands out.

There’s a simple solution when it comes to this growing problem and that’s for the athletes to stop accepting gifts. Don’t go to parties hosted by these agents, don’t accept gifts of suits, cars or money, and don’t do anything that’s going to threaten your playing career or the future of your program. It shouldn’t be that hard to say no, given the recent developments with Reggie Bush, who single-handedly just made the USC football program irrelevant for the next two years.

Every year the NFL hosts a rookie symposium, which teaches players everything from how to handle their finances to ways to avoid trouble. Granted, not every player listens, as evidence by the actions of Ben Roethlisberger, Pacman Jones and the Cincinnati Bengals roster. But at least the NFL tries to put the bug in players’ ears as soon as they get into the league and it might behoove the NCAA to set up a similar program in order to educate its athletes on how they should handle an agent’s advances.

Getting back to Saban, this is what the Alabama coach said yesterday in regards to the agent problem in college football:

“I don’t think it’s anything but greed that’s creating it right now on behalf of the agents,” Saban said in a rant at the Southeastern Conference media days. “The agents that do this — and I hate to say this, but how are they any better than a pimp?

“I have no respect for people who do that to young people. None. How would you feel if they did it to your child?” Saban said.

I guess his agent was taking ballroom dancing and mailing out postcards when Saban was busy hopping from LSU to Miami, and then Miami to Alabama.

It’s an agent’s job to “sell” his client to perspective buyers. Saban can say that job description is also that of a pimp’s all he wants, but that’s what an agent does and that’s what he’ll continue to do. An agents will also continue to try and woo prospective clients (i.e players) with lavish gifts, parties and God knows what else. And that’s why it’s up to the players, the NCAA and yes, even the NFL to step up and stop the problem at its root.

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