UPDATE: Battle told AL.com‘s Michael Casagrande “It was (a) frivolous statement that was meant to be cute,” and “we hope to educate our student athletes that those are not wise investments.”
When Bill Battle began his coaching career in the 1960s, tattooed athletes were rare, and chrome tire rims were in their infancy.
Now, Battle is the athletic director at Alabama, and several of his athletes have tattoos and rims.
He doesn’t like it.
SB Nation’s Steven Godfrey recorded the following dialogue between Battle and North Carolina State athletic director Debbie Yow during an intercollegiate athletics forum on Wednesday morning.
Yow: “You’ve failed athletes [in financial responsibility] when you see them on hover boards.”
Battle: “Or tattoos and rims.”
The rub, of course, is that Battle is calling out dozens of current Alabama athletes who are currently helping the school’s bottom line. There are also some racial implications that eventually need unpacking.
His comment comes at a curious time; Crimson Tide running back Derrick Henry, a Heisman Trophy finalist, is “generating several million publicity dollars for Alabama this week,” according to a tweet from AL.com’s Cecil Hurt.
Half of Henry’s upper body is covered in tattoos.
We were unable to confirm if his automobile has any fancy adornments. What we do know: Rims or no rims, Henry is helping Battle bring home some serious dough this season.