Now, I'm down here in SEC country where everything's the reverse (or topsyturvy, as we say here): no one cares about basketball and everyone is crazy about college football. So it has taken me a while (20+ years) to cotton to (as we say here) a favorite team. If you live in Alabama, you have your druthers between the University of Alabama football team or the Auburn University football team. That's it.
Well, this week I finally made up my mind when the news arrived that the entire Alabama football team, as well as other university athletes, coaches, and staff marched to protest racial injustice in the donald's America. And it was led by none other than the famous Alabama coach Nick Saban, who has previously not shown much interest in anything except winning football games, which, of course, is more than enough to make him a true legend here in Alabama.
The group marched from the Mal Moore athletic facility on campus to the Foster Auditorium's schoolhouse door, where, if you remember your Alabama history, Alabama governor George Wallace infamously turned away two African American, would-be students in 1963, with these words: "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."
"Today I'm like a proud parent," Saban said at the end of the march. "I'm proud of our team, I'm proud of our messengers over here and I'm proud of the message. I'm very proud of the 'All lives can't matter until Black lives matter' video that we did early on that I think had a very positive impact. That was something we did together as a team. This is something that the team decided to do together as a team, so I'm very proud and supportive of what they are trying to say, and in a peaceful and intelligent way. I'm very pleased to be here today...Through this process, I've learned a lot from our players. I don't get to see the world through the same lens that a lot of our players do. I think I respect and appreciate the lens they see the world in and they live the world in...So this is what helped me grow in my role as a leader: to listen to the players, to learn from the players and to give them the opportunity to do things that could impact social change today."
Now, I'm not naive enough to believe this one little demonstration is going change much down here in the "Heart of Dixie," which by the way is still plastered on every State of Alabama license plate. But it's something. If nothing more than to raise the hackles (as we say down here) of some of those cracker Alabama fans who will maybe consider the possibility, if only for a second, that racial equality is nearly as important as winning football games.