Nick Saban said he was oblivious to the presidential election because he is preoccupied coaching his No. 1-ranked Alabama team.
Saban claimed he didn’t know voting occurred Tuesday to elect the 45th president and was evasive about whether he knew Donald Trump had defeated Hillary Clinton in the type of upset Mississippi State will attempt Saturday against 9-0 Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
"It was so important to me that I didn't even know it was happening," Saban told reporters Wednesday evening. "We're focused on other things here."
Reading newspapers, watching TV news or perusing media coverage is not part of Saban’s football-intensive routine, according to an ESPN report. Saban, 65, starts his pre-dawn day with a Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pie, a cup of coffee and a check of the Weather Channel.
He demurred when asked about Tuesday’s nail-biting conclusion of the contentious 2016 campaign.
"I don't really make political comments," said Saban, who left the Miami Dolphins head coaching job in 2007 after 9-7 and 6-10 seasons to take over at Alabama, where he’s won four titles in the past seven seasons. "If I say I like one person, that means that everybody that voted for the other person doesn't like me. So why would I do that? I want what's best for our country. I'm not sure I can figure that out. I want what's best for people who want to improve the quality of their life, and I hope whoever our leader is will certainly do all that he can do to make our country safe and improve the quality of life of a lot of people in our country -- and I don't think I'm qualified to determine who that should be."
Other sports figures were more outspoken.
LeBron James campaigned with Clinton in Ohio, a state she lost. He told followers of his Instagram account, “Don’t lose a bit of faith!”
"Parents and leaders of our children please let them know they can still change the world for the better! Love, genuine LOVE and FAITH will be the only thing that can get us through this. Minorities and women please know that this isn’t the end, it’s just a very challenging obstacle that we will overcome!” said James, who visited President Obama -- a basketball fan and pickup player -- at the White House Thursday with his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates to be honored for their 2016 NBA championship. Earlier in the day, president-elect Trump visited Obama to begin transition work.
Obama said the Cavs’ triumph represented “hope and change.”
James’ teammate J.R. Smith posted a photo of his daughter in front of the White House and these comments on Instagram: “How do you explain to this face what happen? How do you say “go try your best” even though it won’t be good enough? How do I even feel confident sending her on play dates knowing the kid’s family voted for the racist, sexist person and I don’t know how they will treat her when she’s gone? I understand let go and let God! But damn!”
Detroit Pistons Coach Stan Van Gundy said he and his players were upset.
"I don't know how you go about it, if you're a person of color today or a Latino. Because white society just said to you, again -- not like we haven't forever -- but again, and emphatically, that I don't think you deserve equality. We don't think you deserve respect. And the same with women. That's what we say today, as a country," former Miami Heat coach Van Gundy told the Detroit Free Press. “I’m having a hard time dealing with it.”
Golden State Coach Steve Kerr compared the Trump’s campaign to the Jerry Springer show.
"And then you walk into a room with your daughter and your wife -- who have basically been insulted by his comments -- and they're distraught,” Kerr said. “And you walk in and you see the faces of your players, and most of them who have been insulted directly, as minorities. It's sure shocking. It really is."
Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks said he wasn’t surprised by the outcome.
"Now it's our responsibility as men and women to take it into our own hands, be role models and be our own leaders at this point, regardless of who's the commander in chief,” Anthony said, according to an ESPN report. “You can just hear the nervousness. People are afraid and don't know what to think and don't know what to do at this point.”
A sampling of other posts:
*Dwyane Wade, returning to Miami as a Chicago Bull to play the Heat on Thursday night, posted a CNN clip of a young girl leading protesters in an anti-Trump chant of “Love is love and love trumps hate.”
*Dolphin offensive lineman Jermon Bushrod posted “Go crawl back in your hole” in response to an Ann Coulter tweet that stated: “If only people with at least 4 grandparents born in America were voting, Trump would win in a 50-state landslide.”
*Olympic gymnast Danell Leyva of Miami retweeted a comment by actress Rashida Jones: “I’m so scared. How did we get here?”
*University of Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya, a registered Republican, posted a clip of Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr saying: “No matter how you feel.. we still as a country have to come together. It’s like a team. There’s going to be a coach you like, and sometimes a coach you don’t like. It’s up to us to love one another and serve each other.”
*Soccer star Alex Morgan posted “Thank you @HillaryClinton” and a clip of Clinton’s concession speech in which she encourages little girls to pursue their dreams.
*Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta tweeted in reference to celebrities who said they’d move out of the country if Trump won: “Time for Hollywood to pony up and head for the border #illhelpyoupack #beatit.”
*Golfer John Daly sent a congratulatory tweet to “my grt friend” Trump.
*Tennis great Chris Evert retweeted a Time magazine story on the 59 countries that have elected a female leader.
*New York Knick and former Florida Gator Joakim Noah exclaimed: “How!!!”
*Johnny Boychuk, a Canadian who plays for the New York Islanders, tweeted: “Guessing Canada’s population is going up 40 % this week. Most people are friendly.”