During Wednesday’s SEC media day, ESPN’s Paul Finebaum pressed Alabama head coach Nick Saban on his decision not to suspend offensive tackle Cam Robinson and defensive back Laurence Jones following their arrests in May.
The SEC Network shared a replay of their exchange:
AL.com also uploaded video of Saban and Finebaum talking off the air at the end of the SEC Network interview:
AL.com’s Michael Casagrande explained what was happening:
Within earshot of media, Saban launched into a four-letter tirade directed at Finebaum. In it, he used his fingers to note the small amount of marijuana found in the car and insinuated the arresting officers were disgruntled LSU fans. It ended with a few laughs from everyone on set as Saban exited.
During Saban’s main press conference Wednesday, none of the reporters asked Saban about Robinson’s status—a point that rankled Finebaum, per 247Sports’ Connor Tapp.
“I think they’re intimidated,” Finebaum said of the reporters. “You’ve got a guy from Knoxville asking about O.J. Howard? OK. We all know about [Howard]. We saw him in the championship game. [Saban] owns the media. This was an embarrassment today for the media.”
Saban said Wednesday Robinson and Jones may play in the Tide’s season-opener on Sept. 3, per ESPN.com’s Alex Scarborough and Mark Schlabach.
In June, Ouachita Parish district attorney Jerry Jones announced his office wouldn’t pursue criminal charges against Robinson and Jones. Robinson was originally charged with a felony charge of illegal weapons possession in addition to a separate charge of possession of a handgun in the presence of a narcotic.
According to Scarborough and Schlabach, Robinson will have weekly drug tests and drug counseling and take a gun education class from the Tuscaloosa Police Department. Saban discussed why he isn’t suspending Robinson and Jones:
You have to look at the whole picture. Based on the information we got and what they did, that’s what we’re going to do. That’s my decision. I’m also basing this decision based on the type of people these guys have been in our program and what they’ve done to change their behavior relative to our program.
Saban said that as long as Jones and Robinson complete the internal punishments issued by the school, they’ll be available to play against the USC Trojans, per FoxSports.com’s Bruce Feldman.
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