Nick Saban said sometimes punishment is not the best discipline.
The Alabama coach spoke Wednesday on the weekly SEC teleconference when asked about his decision not to suspend wide receiver Jermaine Burton for the Mississippi State game last Saturday.
Burton, a junior who transferred from Georgia after last season, started against Mississippi State one week after striking a female Tennessee fan on the field following the Crimson Tide’s 52-49 loss at Tennessee.
Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jermaine Burton (3) runs with the ball in the game between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Alabama Crimson Tide on October 01, 2022 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, AR (John Bunch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
“I think that everybody’s always looking at what you do,” Saban said when asked how much he weighs the impact on his other players as to how he disciplines or doesn’t discipline a player.
“I think the difference in what a lot of people think is, is discipline necessarily punishment? And you punish your children only if you think that’s going to change the behavior,” he said. “Otherwise, you try to have them learn lessons from things that they do. And that’s basically how we look at discipline and how we try to discipline our players.”
Saban was then asked what kind of message he sent to his other players after not suspending Burton.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban watches warm ups before the College Football Playoff championship football game against Georgia Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
“It didn’t have any issue with our team,” he answered.
Alabama WR Jermaine Burton Is Going to Counseling
Saban said after the Mississippi State game Saturday that Burton is going to counseling in light of the incident, but that is apparently it.
“I think that’s what we’re basically trying to do and see if that is helpful to him,” Saban said.
Arkansas coach Sam Pittman was asked what he would do if one of his players hit a fan on the field during a crowd rush on the field.
Alabama wide receiver Jermaine Burton (3) makes a catch as he’s defended by Tennessee defensive back Christian Charles (14) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
“Obviously, there would have to be something done there,” Pittman said. “But it’d be hard to say just right off the bat. But certainly wouldn’t condone it, nor want that to happen. Certainly, something would have to be done.”