Alabama Football: President Trump attending National Championship an issue?

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09: An Alabama Crimson Tide fan wears a Nick Saban pin during the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09: An Alabama Crimson Tide fan wears a Nick Saban pin during the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /

In the past, Alabama football performed in front of many famous people. Will President Donald Trump attending the national championship be any different?

Whether reports are accurate or not, the rumors are that the current president of the United States of America will be attending the college football national championship game Monday night in Atlanta. Trump has not appeared at many sporting events as the country’s president, but attending this game shows how much of a grip that this championship has on the country or, at least, its leader.

Will Trump’s appearance affect the Alabama football team?

Don’t hold your breath.

Michael Casagrande of decided to find out what the players and the coaches thought about the possibility of the president attending the game in person. While offensive lineman Ross Pierschbacher said that Trump’s appearance “shows the magnitude of the game,” many players expressed merely simple surprise.

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Star running back Damien Harris said, “I mean, it’s the president, but it’s just anybody else attending the game. Hopefully he’s cheering for us.” Casagrande noticed that left tackle Jonah Williams “was unfazed by it. No nerves from him. ‘If I’m worried about somebody in the stands,’ he said, ‘I’m not going to be doing my job.'”

Casagrande saved the best comment for last. Alabama football head coach Nick Saban replied, “You know, look, I have great respect for the office of the President of the United States […] and it would be an honor, whoever was in that position, if they chose to come to see the College Football National Championship Game.”

Was anything else going to come from Saban’s lips? This is Alabama football, not CNN or Entertainment Tonight.

The Alabama Crimson Tide have played in front of many famous celebrities and important people of society before. It does not matter that Trump happens to be the president or that the president of the United States happens to be a former reality television star. Trump coming to the game shows how important that the national championship is to society. He does not add to its importance, because it already is important enough.

Williams’ comment is a great exemplar of what Saban has been preaching to his players for decades. The players’ goal has not been to impress the president, it has been to become national champions. The senior and junior players need Monday night to go well, because it will be their last game in a Crimson Tide uniform. Some of these players need to leave a lasting impression on some National Football League scouts in attendance. It will be the players’ last opportunity to help their cases to be ranked higher for the NFL draft.

A national championship, going out on top of the college football world, and making more money by earning a higher draft selection are much more important than impressing a president whom they may never meet. It is not like Trump, or any president, would do anything special for them just by being entertained for a few hours.

In terms of politics, Saban was very smart with his words. He said that he respected the office of the president, without saying that he respected Trump. Saban said it would be an honor for any president, no matter who it was, to attend the game. His words showed respect without having to offend anyone, including Trump or any president who came before or who would come after him.

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Saban’s words may have sounded like he is the Switzerland of college football coaches, but why should he put any unnecessary distraction on his team?

If Saban would have gone fanboy, gushing over the fact that Trump was coming to the game, the political media leaning Democrat would have blitzed Alabama from the left side with negative press. If Saban would have said that he did not care at all that Trump was coming, the Republican-sided media would have blitzed him from the right side.

Saban, instead, threw a quick slant down the middle of the political battlefield by staying neutral, keeping the championship drive alive and without distraction. Some people may criticize that neutrality, but it keeps fans on the side of either political party off of his back while keeping his players focused on the most important thing, the national championship title.

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One cannot deny that Trump’s appearance at the national championship game would cause a stir. Just don’t expect it to disrupt what Alabama football has accomplished and is trying to accomplish on Monday night. The Crimson Tide will be focused on winning a fifth national championship in less than a decade, not whether the leader of the country is pleased with their effort.

Alabama football already has a leader, and his name isn’t Trump.