A War of the Words: The week Nick Saban and Patrick Beverley had nothing nice to say

Falling squarely in the category of “If You Have Nothing Nice to Say, Go Ahead and Let It Fly,” we have Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Los Angeles Clippers shooting guard Patrick Beverly coming in tied for first.  With it being PGA Week and all, I guess the traditional trash talking between Brooks Koepka and Bryson Dechambeau will have to take a back seat.

I woke up to news the other morning that Nick Saban went all finger pointing, this time pointing westward towards College Station.  I guess Saban’s morning coffee wasn’t dark enough, as his pot was screaming black.

A healthy spat between SEC football coaches is nothing new.  This sort of thing has been going on since the dawn of the conference.  Our latest feud involved God’s gift to coaching, who recently accused Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher of “buying players.”  The comment was probably meant as a subtle jab but ended up sounding far more accusatory.  Saban’s words didn’t sit well with Coach Fisher, who landed this year’s top recruiting class.

TUSCALOOSA, AL – SEPTEMBER 22: Head Coach Jimbo Fisher of the Texas A&M Aggies talks at midfield with Head Coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The Crimson Tide defeated the Aggies 45-23. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

In a speech to Alabama heavies, Saban claimed to be a proponent of the NCAA’s new ruling on NIL, which means college athletes can now earn money based on their name, image, and likeness.  Still in its infancy, these new rules will undoubtedly help the rich get richer and there aren’t many college football programs richer than Alabama.  Unless you include Texas A&M who, according to Saban, bought every player last year, which explains how they landed the football’s top recruiting class.  Apparently, Saban didn’t like finishing second in recruiting to his conference rival.  In said meet and greet, Saban insinuated that Fisher and company bucked the system while Saban and Alabama played by the rules and “didn’t buy one player.”

Whether or not this was meant tongue in cheek, the comments got Fisher’s attention who immediately defended his program and himself.  Blasting Saban as the anointed “czar of football,” Fisher promised A&M did everything by the book and hinted you’d find some shady things if you delved into Saban’s past.

“I know how some of those guys recruit. Go dig into that. I know the history.  I know the tradition and I know things. Trust me, you don’t want to go down that avenue.”

Two old, southern white dudes taking pot shots at one another can only mean football season is upon us.  And to think we haven’t even snapped a ball yet.  Saban has since apologized, possibly because it was the right thing to do and possibly because a slap on the wrist from the conference was forthcoming.  Either way, be sure to get your popcorn ready for October 8th.  That’s when A&M travels to Alabama to play their annual grudge match.  Rest assured, these comments won’t be forgotten.

Saban wasn’t the only one letting barbs fly this week.  Someone at ESPN thought it would be a good idea to put Patrick Beverly on TV. 

Opinionated shooting guard Patrick Beverley was once traded from the Rockets to the Clippers for Chris Paul (2017).  It should also be known that Beverley once took a cheap shot at Paul, pushing him in the back after Paul’s Suns eliminated Beverley’s Clippers from the playoffs (2021).  The bad blood brewing between these two goes back a bit.  This week, it continued in full force.

In a recent interview on basically every one of ESPN’s morning programs, Beverley went after Paul, verbally this time, saying “he can’t guard anybody” and that everybody in the league knows it.  He called Paul a “cone,” implying his defense is stationary.  Pat Bev also quipped that the night before he’s slated to guard Paul, he has a nice steak and wine dinner as opposed to nights before he guards Steph Curry when he’s in bed by 8 pm.

Chris Paul is the head of the NBA Players Association and while getting bounced from the playoffs this season, has had what most would agree is a Hall of Fame career.  Other players, past and present, have since come to Paul’s defense, claiming Beverley used the ESPN platform as his own personal vendetta against Paul.

I’m not sure what got into Pat Bev’s and Nick Saban’s Wheaties this week (sour grapes?) but they clearly looked like the pettier of the two for dragging competitors’ names through the mud. 

As with Saban-Fisher, I can’t imagine the next meeting between Paul and Beverley going amicably.

Lastly, while this has nothing to do with two voices jawing back and forth, I’d like to pay my respects to one voice I’ve heard since I landed on the Gainesville campus some thirty-five years ago.

Voice of the Gators Mick Hubert has announced his retirement, which means we’ll have a brand, new voice calling Gator athletics.  That person will have big shoes to fill.  Perhaps I’ll submit a resume.  Nah, I mumble too much.

Mick called every game, their multiple championships and became synonymous with historic Gator calls. His signature “Oh My!” was imitated countless times by Gator faithful over beers and victories.

He will be missed.

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4 Replies to “A War of the Words: The week Nick Saban and Patrick Beverley had nothing nice to say”

  1. 1) NBA – yawn…
    2) Submit that resume…you could be the “Harry Caray” of Gator sports. Just nothing shirtless from the bleachers, please…
    3) As far as Nicky and Jimbo are concerned…maybe it’s time for the SEC to go full WWE. Let’s have those great “interviews” like wrestlers when they spend two minutes just talking smack about somebody, and once in a while somebody comes rocketing out of the locker room raining a torrent of punches.

  2. Dubsy…

    College football’s already become the Wild Wild West with scavengers poaching in full force thanks to NIL. As you suggest, we may as well have the coaches join in the fracas.

    I wonder how long until the old souls in the conference welcome the new Florida coach with some healthy zingers.

    Shouldn’t take long.

  3. I caught Pat Bev”s act live on First Take and man, did he go in hard on Paul. It was fun to hear an athlete get revved up rather than just provide the standard, politically polite answers to questions, but he went too far. As for Saban and Fisher, it was fun to see Jimbo go nuclear. It was less fun to hear Nick say he did not say what he actually did say. If he truly felt A & M went about their business the wrong way, he should have double-downed and said so. That should be a fun game…

  4. Bruce…

    We don’t often want to hear the truth, whether it’s from a partner, a boss, or an analyst on TV.

    Draymond Green gets a lot of grief for simply keeping it real.

    Is he right all the time? Of course not. But he has an opinion he’s not afraid to share.

    Same with Pat Bev, which is probably why ESPN put him on air in the first place.

    I’m not too sure he’s the most qualified analyst to put on the mic but he most certainly made an entrance.

    And now Saban’s backtracking saying he never openly accused anyone of wrongdoing? Must be the first signs of early onset senility.

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