Alabama’s football coach has his fair share of detractors. And for the most part, they’re well-earned. Along with all the hate that comes with winning three national championships in four seasons, the haters come out when you act like this:
Or when your name rhymes with this guy’s:
But during SEC Media Days on Thursday, it was a Nick Saban fan who turned a compliment into most assuredly the worst thing Saban ever has been called.
A man identified as Lee Allen, a Crimson Tide fan from Decatur, Ala., was quoted by the Alabama Media Group as saying, "He’s a winner, he just does what he wants to do … He’s kind of like Hitler. He’s a dictator. He brought us back to the top and I figure we’re going to be here for a while. Money well spent."
Huh? Hitler? Did he just say that? And is that a compliment toward Saban?
"Yeah," AL.com quoted Allen as saying, noting he said it between discreetly spitting tobacco juice into a water bottle in the lobby.
Allen and a horde of other Alabama fans were gathered in the lobby of The Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala., site of this week’s SEC Media Days. The site reported that some fans waited for eight hours, and that the interaction with Saban — for the entire crowd — lasted all of three minutes.
As for the "money well spent," that was a reference to Allen’s travel expenses, which he estimated at $800. According to the story, Allen, a college student, arrived in Hoover on Sunday, though Media Days did not begin until Tuesday. "I had nothing else planned this week," he was quoted as saying.
Now, while Saban is not the one who uttered the Hitler reference, this is not the first time the dictator and man responsible for the Holocaust has entered the sports world.
• Then-Reds owner Marge Schott told Sports Illustrated of Hitler in 1996: "He was OK at the beginning. He rebuilt all the roads, honey. You know that, right? He just went too far."
• In 2011, singer Hank Williams Jr.’s famed "Monday Night Football" intro song was dropped from the broadcast after the singer compared a golf outing by President Barack Obama and Republican Rep. John Boehner to an outing featuring Hitler and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.