Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban is finally addressing 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 she ran onto the field to celebrate her team’s win.
After discussing the situation with Burton, Saban felt it wasn’t necessary to suspend him for even a quarter of action.
According to Saban, Burton said he was “scared” during the field rush. And that was enough to convince the Crimson Tide head coach.
“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.
“I talked to the guy, we have him in a counseling program, it’s not an anger management program, as some people announced today,” he continued to tell reporters. “Nobody ever said that, that’s not the problem, that’s not the issue.”
“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 rushed the field. A video of the incident allegedly shows Burton striking a female fan as she tried to avoid him.
“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.
After hearing Saban’s explanation, fans were not convinced. Many of them called out the college football legend for his response to Burton’s actions:
Alabama went on to defeat Mississippi State, 30-6, as Burton had two receptions for 40 yards in the contest.