Saban dismisses four arrested players

February, 27, 2013
2/27/13
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To really no one's surprise, Nick Saban has dismissed the four players who were arrested earlier this month.

According to online records for the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office, defensive lineman D.J. Pettway and linebacker Tyler Hayes were arrested for second-degree robbery, linebacker Brent Calloway was arrested for fraudulent use of a credit card and receiver/defensive back Eddie Williams was arrested for second-degree robbery and fraudulent use of a credit card.

Saban had a big decision on his hands when it came to how to handle these players. First, all four were indefinitely suspended. Then, three players -- Hayes, Pettway and Williams -- were barred from campus. After Alabama's judicial review, Saban decided to part ways with the four.

[+] EnlargeNick Saban
AP Photo/Jeff RobersonAlabama coach Nick Saban showed on Wednesday how high of a priority discipline and accountability are to his program.
When Saban released his initial statement on the incident back on Feb. 12, it appeared he was saying that if things did in fact prove to be unacceptable actions by his players, their chances of staying on the team were slim to none. And Saban came through Wednesday.

"Based on all the information we've received and going through and trying to determine the future of the four guys that got in trouble, those guys are no longer associated with the football program," Saban said on Wednesday. "Their actions do not reflect the spirit and character that we want our organization to reflect. It's obviously very disappointing and unacceptable what happened."

The magnitude of these arrests (I mean a fellow student was allegedly attacked) was going to make it hard for any coach to keep these players around. This was a safety issue and something that truly embarrassed not just the football program but the university as a whole.

Saban talks quite a bit of game about accountability and he made sure those players realized that they had to pay greatly for their actions. Saban didn't get to where he is and didn't get Alabama to where it is without taking off-field incidents very seriously and making tough decisions.

And it wasn't like these players were oafs. Williams was an ESPN 150 member and the No. 2 athlete in the country last year, while Hayes was an ESPN 150 member and the No. 10 linebacker in the country. Calloway was an ESPN 150 member back in 2011 and Pettway was a four-star prospect. Pettway was actually on the All-SEC freshman team in 2012 after notching 2.5 sacks and four tackles for loss.

These were talented players, and only Williams didn't see action last season. Each had a chance to make moves in 2013, but their awful off-field decisions cost them that.

But with all the talent Alabama has returning on both sides of the ball, these players will likely be hurt more than Alabama by this whole thing. Saban has too much to work with to be very worried about losing these players. Alabama won't take a step back without having any of these players on its roster.

That's a scary thought. How many other teams out there can lose highly-recruited guys all at once like this and not flinch? Yeah, that would be none.

Sure, Saban probably would have preferred these guys didn't get in trouble, and he'd probably prefer them on the team rather than off of it, but he did what he had to do, and his team likely won't dip because of it.

Saban made the right move to dismiss these players, and he likely won't regret it, either.

"Some people learn by words. Some people can learn by consequences. Some people can't learn," Saban said.

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