Good morning. The Rammer Jammer is a daily rundown of everything you need to know about Alabama athletics, published every weekday morning
On athletes, agency and sticking to sports
— Mark Ingram II (@MarkIngram22) September 27, 2016
On Monday night, former Alabama running back Mark Ingram and the New Orleans Saints joined the Atlanta Falcons in a circle at midfield before kickoff in the SuperDome. It was a touching show of unity — a statement on an increasingly divided nation, Ingram said. Most of all, despite the contrast it intentionally draws to the controversial Colin Kaepernick, it was a political act — the latest in a growing trend. While many appreciated the gesture on a night that showcased the country’s polarization, a not insignificant number of people issued that ancient directive: stick to sports.
On Saturday, Nebraska football players Michael Rose-Ivey, DaiShon Neal and Mohamed Barry chose to kneel during the National Anthem. While Huskers coach Mike Riley supported his players publicly, one regent said he expected the players to be kicked off the team, to “do their protesting on somebody else’s nickel.”
I want to be clear: Without rendering a verdict on the validity of their actions, those players have every right to protest in that manner. If the university, as a state body, takes an action to censor or suppress that protest, it would be illegal. It would be a violation of their First Amendment rights and would run contrary to the whole notion of amateurism. But that regent’s threat is far from the worst the players received. On Tuesday, Rose-Ivey read a statement detailing the death threats he and his teammates were sent simply because they dared to dissent. I warn you, the following may be difficult to hear. Rose-Ivey and his teammates were told they should be “hung before the anthem” because they didn’t stick to sports.
Nebraska's Michael Rose-Ivey with a powerful statement in today's press conference. Says fans told him he should "be hung before the anthem" pic.twitter.com/NJjEMnUYhd
— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) September 26, 2016
On Monday night, during the presidential debates, several Alabama players took to Twitter to express their thoughts, as did thousands of Americans across the country. I saw engineers, writers, professors, linguists, doctors, lawyers, the whole range of professions commenting on the debate. I only saw one person be told “if you’re smart, you’ll stick to sports, son.”
I understand the desire to have sports as an escape from the difficulty of the real world, but athletes aren’t confined to that box. Their existence is not designed to make you comfortable, and requesting they hold themselves to a silent standard is dehumanizing, undemocratic, and, in my opinion, un-American. O.J. Howard makes my point well.
"We play football, but we have a life also. We can say what we want to say." — O.J. Howard on people telling players to stick to football pic.twitter.com/pfFUF0LfiE
— Marq Burnett (@Marq_Burnett) September 27, 2016
- Bleacher Report’s Barrett Sallee has Alabama taking on Michigan in his Week 4 playoff projections. Meanwhile, Michigan’s SIDs are scrambling to change Jim Harbaugh’s Twitter password before he realizes his phone is missing.
- Sallee also called Alabama freshman QB Jalen Hurts the SEC’s best chance at a Heisman Trophy this season. Hurts is currently listed at +4000 in the Vegas books, and despite his fast start to the season, his inclusion perhaps says more about the state of stardom in the SEC than his play.
- SEC Country’s Marq Burnett has your practice report, including Damien Harris and Tony Brown returning to practice.
- As Aaron Suttles of The Tuscaloosa News points out, Alabama’s defense has forced a three-and-out more than half the time this season.
- On the more lighthearted end, Dan Carson at Fox Sports says Nick Saban would be the SEC’s fifth-best father-in-law, as if Saban has ever been satisfied with finishing fifth in his life.
- The Lexington Herald-Leader’s Ben Roberts illustrates Alabama’s dramatic talent advantage over the Wildcats.
- Fox Sports’ Stewart Mandel has No. 1 Alabama taking on No. 4 Stanford in the Peach Bowl in his latest projections.
- A caller on Mark Stoops’ radio show told him he’d rather have Tommy Tuberville as his head coach. There are lines you just don’t cross, my dude.
- It’s homecoming week, and to some Alabama players, that still matters, from Tony Tsoukalas at the Aniston Star.
- This headline says ‘Kentucky back provides bulletin board material.’ Apparently, “We’ll at least score a field goal!” is bulletin board material.
- AL.com’s Ranier Sabin on why Damien Harris made the right call choosing Alabama over UK.
- LSU is “gauging Nick Saban’s interest,” apparently. #ShootYourShot2k16
Around the Capstone
- Both Alabama cross country teams remain nationally ranked.
- Alabama softball’s fan picnic is this Thursday.
- Alabama soccer is at the midpoint of its season and improving every week.
Les Miles spotted in Tuscaloosa
Les Miles on a billboard in Tuscaloosa? Yep. "Looking for a New Home?" pic.twitter.com/IqNQvgCbEF
— Jim Dunaway (@jimdunaway) September 27, 2016
Sorry, I couldn’t resist. This billboard in Tuscaloosa comes courtesy of Pritchett Moore Real Estate.
Most people think Denny Chimes is just a set of speakers playing pre-programmed sounds, not unlike your local church. It’s not. While the clock chimes are automated for every 15 minutes, and the Alma Mater is automated to play at noon, the daily hymns played by the chimes are actually the responsibility of a University of Alabama graduate student, as the university’s internal news service writes.