Saban counts the number of reporters he’s killed
TUSCALOOSA, AL–James Cale, a beat reporter for the Birmingham Daily Press, has died from injuries he sustained Monday during Alabama Crimson Tide Head Coach Nick Saban’s weekly press conference. Cale’s death brings the total fatalities from the incident to three, while four more reporters remain in area hospitals in critical condition.
Charles Haskell, a reporter for The Montgomery Times, was pronounced dead at the scene on Monday, and Arthur Bandy, sports editor for The Tuscaloosa Herald, died on Wednesday.
“Coach Saban can get pretty testy at some of his press conferences, and this week he was maybe a little more testy than usual,” says Andrew Gribble of Al.com, a website that covers the great state of Alabama, “No disrespect intended, Coach Saban, if you happen to be reading this. But, of course you wouldn’t be reading this, a man of your stature has much better things to do than read silly things like this.”
Gribble says the incident began when Haskell asked Saban about rumors regarding the head coaching job at the University of Texas.
“The first time he asked the question, Coach Saban, in his infinite wisdom and patience, simply ignored it,” says Gribble, “But then he asked it a second time, and Coach Saban, who looks quite handsome and fit for a man his age, picked up his baseball bat, which he brings to every press conference or interview of any kind, and slowly began circling the room.”
Gribble says the mood of the room changed and most of the reporters began to fidget nervously as Saban walked amongst them, continuing to listen to their questions, but issuing mostly single-word responses, and sometimes only using half-words.
“He was playing with us, like a cat with an injured mouse,” Gribble says, “It was horrifying and awe-inspiring at the same time, like being judged by God Himself. Then Stewart Mandel, who writes for Sports Illustrated and only drops by occasionally, usually to cause trouble, faked a sneeze, but audibly said ‘Texas’ when he did. That’s when all hell broke loose.”
Gribble says Saban began swinging his bat into the pool of reporters, sometimes taking out four or five at once. He described it as watching Mark McGwire on double his usual dose of steroids.
“It was impressive,” he says, “Haskell’s head came clean off. He definitely had our attention after that. You can bet at next week’s presser, the only questions you’ll hear will be about that week’s opponent.”