Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban addressed the matter of wide receiver Jermaine Burton starting for his team on Saturday night just one week after a video caught him allegedly striking a female Tennessee fan while they ran onto the field in Knoxville.
Saban was aware of what happened with Burton, mentioning that it would be handled internally. After discussing the situation with Burton, Saban felt it wasn’t necessary to suspend him from his program.
“I don’t know how many of you have been in a situation like that. I talked to him. He was scared, I was scared, some of our other players were scared,” Saban said. “I think you learn to respect other people because we have a responsibility to do that, regardless of the circumstance we’re in.
He added, “I talked to the guy, we have him in a counseling program, it’s not an anger management program, as some people announced today. Nobody ever said that, that’s not the problem, that’s not the issue.”
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“It’s about having the proper respect for other people. I didn’t think it was necessary to suspend the guy, so if you knew the whole story, maybe you wouldn’t either. But I am not gonna divulge that,” he said.
When the Tennessee Vols upset the Crimson Tide last Saturday with a game-winning field goal, the entire stadium flooded the field. A video of the incident allegedly shows Burton walking when a female fan gets in his way. As she tries to avoid him, he appears to strike her before walking away.
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“We certainly don’t condone any mistreatment of anybody, whether they should or shouldn’t be there. I think you’ve gotta have respect for other people,” Saban said on Wednesday.
But Saban’s decision to start Burton was received negatively by many.
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It is unclear if there was any discipline laid down to Burton for this incident.
Alabama went on to defeat Mississippi State, 30-6, where Burton had two receptions for 40 yards.