Bob Huggins’ Comments Idiotic, But Losing A Million In Salary Is Cruel And Unusual Punishment … As Nate Oats’ Gun Show Goes Unscathed

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So, Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats gets nothing for ridiculous comments and behavior regarding at least three of his players at the scene of a murder near the Alabama campus last January.

And West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins will lose $1 million, will be suspended for three games next season, and must get sensitivity training for saying a homophobic word on a radio show that was jovial before turning stupid and insensitive Monday?

What the hell is this?


Oats sought advice on how to handle a murder charge against one of his players last January from former NFL linebacker Ray Lewis, of all people. Lewis and two others were indicted on murder and aggravated assault charges in Atlanta in 2000 for their alleged roles in the stabbing deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollard. The murder charge against Lewis was later dropped when he opted to testify against the two others in exchange for pleading guilty only to a misdemeanor charge of obstructing justice. Lewis got one year of probation, and the other two were acquitted.

So, everybody won, right Nate? Oats’ former player Darius Miles and friend Michael Lynn Davis have been in jail in Tuscaloosa since Jan. 15 on capital murder charges. Miles allegedly gave the murder gun to Davis, who allegedly shot and killed Jamea Jonae Harris on the Alabama Strip.

“He went through a similar situation (as Darius Miles) in Atlanta,” Oats said of Lewis on the Alabama Crimson Tide Sports Network show Jan. 17 before the Tide played at Vanderbilt. “He played in the NFL. He told me what he thought guys needed to hear.”

Bob Huggins Not As Bad As Nate Oats

Oats continued on about Ray Lewis as a life coach – you know if you’re ever charged with murder – after beating Vanderbilt.

“I just thought he’s been through, you know, a tragic situation,” Oats said. “He is one of the more mentally tough athletes in my time. His daughter went to Alabama, so I was able to get his number. I talked to him. He didn’t talk to the team or anything. But he kind of talked to me. He’s a man of faith as well. Just kind of told me to share a little word with him (Miles), pray with him.”

Now, Oats didn’t use a homophobic word, but I would say his above statements are as stupid as anything Huggins said on the radio show Monday. I’d say maybe a $500,000 fine for that. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

And Oats wasn’t done saying stupid things.

On Feb. 21, the court system – not the Alabama system – revealed that Oats’ star player Brandon Miller brought Miles’ gun to the murder scene after Miles called him and said he forgot it in Miller’s car. That was according to testimony by a Tuscaloosa police detective in a preliminary hearing. Another Alabama player, Jaden Bradley, was also there, according to the detective. Miller and Bradley have not been charged by authorities and were apparently not disciplined by Oats.

“College kids are out,” Oats said after the news of Miller’s and Bradley’s presence at the scene dropped. “Brandon hasn’t been in any type of trouble, nor is he in any trouble in this case, other than wrong spot at the wrong time.”

Wrong spot at the wrong time, really? That’s another $500,000, Nate.

And if you don’t agree. Just ask Nick Saban.

“Everybody’s got an opportunity to make choices and decisions,” Saban said after police arrested Tide freshman defensive back Tony Mitchell last March in Florida for marijuana possession with intent to sell, carrying a concealed gun and driving 141 mph.

Nate Oats Says Wrong Things At Wrong Times

“There’s no such thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Saban said. He said he was unaware that Oats had previously said Miller was in the “wrong spot at the wrong time.” And I believe him. But that doesn’t matter. What Saban was saying was anyone who says “wrong place, wrong time” is usually full of it, particularly when they add to the wrong place at the wrong time, as it looks Miller did, and Mitchell definitely did.

Oats has continued to say the wrong things at the wrong times all around the murder investigation involving his team. And he has apologized multiple times. Yet, Alabama’s hierarchy has done nothing. A suspension of Oats is clearly in order at least. I guess if Oats had used homophobic language at some point, it would have already happened.

If one listens to Huggins on Bill Cunningham’s show on 700 WLW in Cincinnati, he clearly sounds like a buffoon from the 1970s. But not a million dollar buffoon.

Radio Show Hosts Egged Bob Huggins On

First of all, he is egged on by the two radio show hosts.

“Have you poached any Xavier guys to come play for West Virginia,” a host asked Huggins, who coached from 1989-2005 at Cincinnati, which is a blood rival of Xavier (a private Catholic school in Cincinnati).

“Catholics don’t do that,” Huggins said. “I tell you what, any school that can throw rubber penises on the floor, and then say they didn’t do it, by God, they can get away with anything.”

Huggins was referencing some of the wild rivalry games between Cincinnati and Xavier with something that may or may not have actually happened. And so far, he hasn’t said anything bad.

But one of the hosts says, “I think it was transgender night, wasn’t it? Was that it?”

And then it happened. Huggins says, “What it was was all those f—, those Catholic f—, I think is what it was. They were envious they didn’t have one.”

OK, I agree with the need for sensitivity training and a suspension. Or maybe just a calendar for Huggins, who is 69, that clearly says 2023.

Bob Huggins Did Apologize Well

Huggins apologized well.

“I used a completely insensitive and abhorrent phrase that there is simply no excuse for,” he said. “And I won’t try to make one here.”

He didn’t say what so many athletes and others say after they say something stupid – “I’m sorry IF I offended anyone.” So, thank Huggins for that.

“There are consequences for our words and actions, and I will fully accept any coming my way,” he said. “I am ashamed and embarrassed and heartbroken for those I have hurt. I must do better, and I will.”

Oats’ apologies were decent, but nothing close to that last sentence.

What people must remember regarding Huggins is he was guilty of stupid words. Oats is guilty of bad actions, as in not suspending or disciplining Miller in some way for bringing a murder weapon to what became a murder scene. That is according to the police detective working the case.

Other accounts are from Miller’s attorney, who is trying to do what’s best for his client, not necessarily convey an accurate account of what happened. The self-defense argument for Miles and Davis, by the way, is a reach, to say the least. We may learn more during a new bail hearing for Miles and Davis on May 24.

As far as Huggins, I’m a little worried about the source of his upcoming sensitivity training.

West Virginia President May Not Be Best Source For Sensitivity

West Virginia president Gordon Gee has met with Huggins about the situation. Gee, of all people, should not be advising Huggins on sensitivity training.

Gee, you should remember, makes Huggins look like a PC-addicted Hollywood actor at a Greenpeace benefit concert.

When Gee was at Ohio State in 2011, he said being president there “was like running the Polish army.” In 2012, he said the Big Ten should not add Notre Dame because, “the fathers are holy on Sunday, and they’re holy hell the rest of the week.” And, “you just can’t trust those damn Catholics on a Thursday or a Friday.”

Gee was not fined, suspended or sent to sensitivity school.

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League said it best at the time and for this time.

“It’s time for everyone to take a deep breath,” he began. “I have never met President Gee, but it is clear from what I read that what he said was made in jest. Was it dumb? Yes. But context and tone matter.”

And it should matter much more than it has regarding Huggins.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests.

A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention.

Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at, and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.

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  1. As I noted in the original Outkick article on this incident … WVU Prez Gordon Gee is a “loose cannon” and prides himself on being unpredictable. He was formerly Prex at tOSU where he was often “goofy”.

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