Alabama’s Nick Saban strongly defended his decision to give ex-UGA defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor a “second chance” in a Monday press conference.
Taylor was dismissed from Alabama’s football team this past weekend after being arrested for a domestic violence charge. He was kicked off UGA’s team last summer after being indicted on two felony counts for hitting and choking his girlfriend.
On Monday, Saban was asked if he thought it was a mistake to sign Taylor last January.
“No, I’m not sorry for giving him an opportunity; I’m sorry for the way things worked out,” he said.
“I’m not apologizing for the opportunity that we gave him. I wanted to try to help the guy make it work. It didn’t work. So we’re sorry it didn’t work. We’re sorry that there was an incident. We’re sorry for the people that were involved in the incident.
“But we’re not apologizing for what we did. And we’re going to keep continuing to create opportunities for people in the future. And we’ll very, very closely evaluate anyone’s character that we allow in the program because we all have a responsibility to represent the University of Alabama in a first-class way.”
Saban was also asked this: Will Jonathan Taylor change his stance on recruiting players who have been arrested for domestic violence?
“I think you learn from every experience. We certainly learned some things from this one. I certainly don’t condone that kind of behavior, especially when it comes to how females are treated. That’s something we try to create a lot of awareness for with our players. We would certainly be cautious about any player who had any character problem, but especially something like is something will be very careful about in the future.
“But I will say this: We will continue to try to create opportunities for players and help them try to be successful. And even in Jonathan Taylor’s case, if there’s anything we can do to help him overcome his issues and problems, we’ll certainly try to help him become successful. But right, the guy cannot just be on our football team.”
Saban also called Taylor a “good person” when asked about the vetting or evaluation process that approved his Alabama admission.
“I spoke to everybody that had an opportunity to give us some idea of what kind of young man that Jonathan Taylor was. And is. And you know, I still think he’s a good person, I think he has a problem and a circumstance that is not acceptable. And that is his problem. And he has been certainly dealt with relative to this problem, so I’m going to say one more time, I don’t know what else we need to talk about here.”
After Saban’s passionate and public defense of Taylor, the Alabama coach was trending on Twitter: