Right After Nick Saban Loses Title Game, Manchin Deals Another Brutal Blow to Hated Coach


Last week was a tough one for Alabama head football coach Nick Saban.

First, his Crimson Tide were dealt a rare defeat by the Georgia Bulldogs in the national championship game on Jan. 10.

Then on Thursday, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin confirmed that he would “not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster.” This meant that Democrats’ “voting rights” package would almost certainly not pass the Senate.

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According to Yahoo Sports, Saban was born in West Virginia and has previously expressed support for Manchin. However, he was apparently upset with the senator for not helping to get the voting package passed.

Saban, along with NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West and three other prominent West Virginia sports figures, signed a letter demanding that Manchin back the legislation.

“We support measures to provide voters with a range of opportunities to obtain and cast a lawful ballot, including robust in-person, early, and absentee voting options,” the letter said.

The letter also expressed explicit support for the Freedom to Vote Act, which Democrats are attempting to pass on partisan lines. It includes extremely questionable provisions like giving felons the right to vote and enacting universal mail-in balloting, Business Insider reported.

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No Senate Republicans have supported the bill. That is a problem for Democrats, who need 60 votes to overcome the filibuster.

Since Democrats hold a slim majority in the Senate thanks to a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris, many of them feel they should move to end the filibuster and pass the package via a simple majority. However, Manchin has refused to support such a plan.

In the letter, four of the five sports icons took no position on the issue of the filibuster. Saban, on the other hand, asked for a footnote declaring that he does not want the filibuster abolished, CNN’s Kaitlan Collins reported.

“Coach Saban is not in favor of getting rid of the filibuster in the Senate,” the footnote read. “He believes this will destroy the checks and balances we must have in our Democracy. The others signing this letter take no position on this aspect of Senate policies.”

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While it is good to see that Saban supports the filibuster, the fact that he signed the letter anyway shows just how ill-informed he is.

Manchin has already signaled that he supported the Freedom to Vote Act and that his issue was not with the bill itself. Instead, his concern was with ending the filibuster in order to pass the legislation.

In signing a letter expressing support for the bill and opposition to ending the filibuster, Saban was asking Manchin to take the same positions he already held.

The letter called on Congress to “exercise its Constitutional responsibility to enact laws that set national standards for the conduct of Federal elections,” but it did not provide a way to do this apart from ending the filibuster.

To complicate matters, the footnote Saban requested was not present in the final letter sent to Manchin, even though it was in the version Saban signed, according to Collins.

In its final form, the letter essentially reads like a call to end the filibuster without coming out and explicitly saying it. Manchin already supports the Freedom to Vote Act, which means the only additional action he could presumably take would be to attack the filibuster.

In any case, Saban’s clear misunderstanding of congressional processes shows why college football coaches have no business moonlighting as political activists.

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Grant is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He has five years of writing experience with various outlets and enjoys covering politics and sports.
Grant is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor's degree in journalism. He has five years of writing experience with various outlets and enjoys covering politics and sports.