Jermaine Burton Is One Of The First Alabama Players Off The Field During LSU Field Storm Before Hostile Incident Involving Staffer

Jermaine Burton appears to have learned his lesson after an incident involving a physical altercation with a female Tennessee fan in Knoxville earlier this year. He was one of the first Alabama players to exit the field on Saturday night as LSU fans celebrated a win in Baton Rouge.

Burton, a junior wide receiver in his first year in Tuscaloosa after transferring from Georgia, has been on the losing end of two field storms this season alongside his Crimson Tide teammates. The first, which came after a loss to the Volunteers on the third Saturday in October, came with controversy.

Following the game, as fans poured onto the field, a video showed Burton make contact with a female as he made his way into the locker room. A second, lengthier clip gave further context to the entire incident and showed the receiver make contact with multiple fans during his exit.

Despite the corroborating video evidence that showed Burton struck a female Tennessee fan, he was not suspended. Nick Saban allowed him to play the entire game a week later.

While most people seemed to agree that Burton should have been suspended for at least one half of the following game, he was not. He played the full game against Mississippi State on October 22nd.

Nick Saban handled the Jermaine Burton incident his way.

When asked why Burton was allowed to play, Saban said that he and his staff had handled things internally. The 71-year-old head coach added that Burton is in counseling and provided context to the situation.

“I didn’t think it was necessary to suspend the guy, so if you knew the whole story, maybe you wouldn’t either," said Saban. "But I am not gonna divulge that.”

Saban said that he, some of his players, and Burton were "scared" while leaving the field amidst the fan rush. He did not say that Burton was scared of the female fan with whom he made contact. He did not correlate one with the other.

It would be irresponsible to make that jump based off of what was said. To inflate Saban's comments into something that they were not would be as well.

The incident with Burton at Tennessee was handled inside the Alabama program, which has a history of keeping things locked up under Saban. Right or wrong, it's what they do.. And it appears as though Burton learned his lesson despite the lack of suspension.

On Saturday, as LSU fans stormed the field to celebrate the win over the Tide, they gave a perfect example of why Saban, Burton and his players were "scared" after the loss to Tennessee. A group of Tiger fans confronted a visiting staff member in an unfriendly manner and got right up in his face. He required a police escort off of the field because the LSU fans were so hostile.

Replace the Bayou Bengals on the field in Baton Rouge for Volunteers in Knoxville, and it was surely a similar scene. Video from the incident at Tennessee backs up the hostility toward Burton and other Alabama players.

Jermaine Burton did not make the same mistake twice.

This does not excuse Burton's behavior. It does not excuse Saban's handling of the situation.

However, it does speak to exactly what Saban was saying about players being "scared." Field storms can get confrontational and fans are not always acting in a kind or respectful manner, which is why the SEC is taking action to minimize field storms moving forward.

In addition, suspension or not, Burton has learned his lesson. He was one of the first Alabama players to exit the field on Saturday without issue. Notice how he did not look "scared" because he was able to avoid the LSU fans by getting into the tunnel, which was not the case at Tennessee.

Again, what Burton did in Knoxville was wrong. In my opinion, he should have sat for one game — especially a game that Alabama was going to win anyway.

However, Saban's comments about being "scared" are entirely vindicated by the incident with one of his staffers in Baton Rouge. And his decision not to suspend Burton, clearly, did not keep his receiver from learning that his actions were wrong, as exemplified by his quick exit on Saturday night.