Alabama Basketball: Nate Oats went too far with Coach K comments

[Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]
[Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.] /

Alabama basketball’s head coach went too far with his comments.

Nate Oats has been a great head coach for Alabama basketball. From his recruiting to the development of players, he has the Crimson Tide trending in the right direction. However, he took a step too far with his comments about Coach K.

Recently, Mike Krzyzewski suggested that it isn’t safe for games to be played during the middle of a pandemic. He commented that the safety of the students needs to come first and argues that we are just acting as if nothing is happening right now. These comments are coming after an increase in cases around the country and over 1000 COVID-19 deaths each day in the US alone.

These comments caused Nate Oats to respond in a recent press conference.

"“Do you think if Coach K hadn’t lost his two nonconference games at home that he would still be saying that? We 100% should be playing basketball.”"

These comments were unexpected, but Oats is essentially saying that Mike Krzyzewski is lying when he says that his comments are about the safety of the players.

Nate Oats is a very straightforward person. He has never sugarcoated his comments about anything. That is one of the reasons why Alabama basketball fans love him. However, these comments are too far.

It’s valid to question the greatest basketball coach of all time. That alone would not be an issue. however, these comments make Oats sound tone-deaf. COVID-19 cases are increasing around the country, and the world is different now than it was back in March. Heck, it is different than it was when the NCAA laid out plans to play college basketball. Mike Krzyzewski is bringing up real concerns about the state of college basketball, and it is wrong for Nate Oats to question his intentions.

By saying these things, Oats is disregarding the genuine concerns regarding playing basketball in a pandemic. Teams must be committed to doing this safely, and that starts with recognizing the dangers of doing so. If Oats truly believes that there is no reason not to play college basketball, then he is simply wrong.

You can argue whether or not athletes are safer with the teams or back home. However, you cannot argue that there are inherent risks associated with having Alabama basketball play this year. Coach K was simply saying that the risks might not be worth it.

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There is a debate to be had. Oats’ comments imply that there isn’t one and that Coach K was acting selfishly. Nate Oats took it too far, and it is giving Alabama basketball a bad look during a difficult time.