Scott Says

Nick Saban’s Election Day obliviousness reminds me of Panthers’ first coach, Dom Capers

Alabama head coach Nick Saban said Wednesday he was unaware that Tuesday had been Election Day. For real.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban said Wednesday he was unaware that Tuesday had been Election Day. For real. AP

While Election Day on Tuesday split the country in half, I have been heartened at how many people care enough about who becomes president that they had an opinion about it and took the time to vote.

And then there’s Nick Saban. Look, I know football coaches work crazy hours and obsess over tiny details about their fourth-string tight ends. But there is absolutely no excuse for Saban to not have even known that Tuesday was Election Day, which he admitted in a press conference Wednesday when asked his thoughts about it.

“To be honest with you, I didn’t even know yesterday was Election Day,” Saban said the day after Donald Trump’s election. “So, it was so important to me that I didn’t even know it was happening. We’re focused on other things here.”

Oh, c’mon. This is one of the things I hate about sports – the wrongheaded idea that you shouldn’t care about anything else. That’s ridiculous, and Saban’s apathy is a terrible example for the many who look up to him.

Yes, let’s care about Alabama football, and only Alabama football. And if the apocalypse comes and most of the world turns into zombies, let’s make sure to build a bigger fence around all our fields so that the zombies don’t interfere with our practices.

Election Day Part 2: While thinking about Saban’s comments, though, I remembered that the Panthers’ first coach, the gracious but obsessed Dom Capers, had much the same philosophy. While current coach Ron Rivera used his platform the past few months to repeatedly tell everyone to vote, Capers missed voting in the 1996 presidential election because it interfered with his game-planning for an upcoming game.

Capers – who slept on a sofa in his office at least two nights a week that season – was oblivious to less significant matters, too.

Once, Capers called a meeting of his assistant coaches. But all of the Panthers assistants were caught up in the O.J. Simpson trial and delayed going to the meeting to hear the verdict announced.

Capers sat alone in the meeting room, wondering aloud: “Did everyone quit?”

Charlotte Observer NFL writers Joe Person and Jourdan Rodrigue preview Kansas City Chiefs at Carolina Panthers and pick their winner.

My prediction: The Panthers have a tough one Sunday. They can beat Kansas City if they win the turnover battle, but I don’t see it happening. My pick: Kansas City 24, Carolina 20.

Fowler: sfowler@charlotteobserver.com; Twitter: @scott_fowler

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