By J. Henderson
– Alabama wide receiver DJ Hall, discussing his reputation for poor leadership and the questioning of his character by fans.
According to an article in Thursday’s Birmingham News by Ian Rapoport, the reporter who fished the instantly classic “it is what it is” line from Saban (instantly classic at least as far as context, at least around these parts – Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga borrowed it from Saban – it is apparently one of Nick’s pet phrases – to announce Saban’s duplicitous departure from Miami), Hall recently consulted his head coach on how best to handle bad publicity.
So let me get this straight – DJ Hall, of “DJ Hall and The Incredible Shrinking Suspension” fame, is seeking advice on how to handle criticism from a man who is not only notorious for handling it poorly (this video shows the real meat of the “9/11” press conference following Alabama’s loss to ULM, a game that saw Hall’s whole-game suspension reduced to only a first-half suspension as Alabama trailed; it shows what I can only assume to be an Oscar-worthy attempt at reverse psychology: “There is a value in doing the right thing and there are consequences when you do the wrong thing… this is college football. We’re supposed to be developing people here,” Saban says angrily. “We’re supposed to be getting guys to go to school, graduate from school and do the right things and develop them so they can be the best competitors on the field as they can be. That’s what we’re supposed to do. Now, if we want to win at all cost, if that’s the philosophy that we want to have, then we ought to take those first two and throw them out the window. And if we can’t win doing it the right way, getting guys to do the right things, then I won’t be here…. I don’t know any short-cuts… you guys are puttin’ winnin’ before doin’ it right and that’s wrong.” Keep in mind… all of this coming within mere hours of this. The video was, not all that surprisingly, actually made by an Alabama fan.), but in part responsible for the stain on Hall’s image, deserved or not, during his record-breaking senior season (had Saban shown the leadership demanded of DJ in the ULM loss by simply following through with the full-game suspension, surely a sliver of negative spotlight could have been avoided these past several weeks)?
“[Saban] told me stuff about what people say about him down in Miami. And I can relate to that,” Hall said. “He knows how to bounce back from that. I have to overcome it.”
Good luck, young grasshopper.