TV Anchor Triggered Over 'Hi Saban' Comment: Reasonable Message, Terrible Delivery

I still attend a Nick Saban press conference from time to time. My coverage of college football has branched out beyond the University of Alabama, but he is still the most recognizable head coach of the most recognizable program in the country.

His press conference on Monday is one I wish I hadn't missed. Apparently, it kicked up quite a bit on controversy. Not because of anything Saban said, but because of a newer member of the media addressing him as such.

This is how she phrased her question: "Hi Saban, how do you think your defense will hold up against quarterback Ian Book?"

Pretty generic question, but it gives the head coach for the Crimson Tide plenty of wiggle room to expand. The defense has struggled at times this season, including in its most recent game against Florida in the SEC championship. Overall, it's a solid pitch for a flexible at bat.

But the question wasn't the issue, apparently. It was how the journalist addressed the Alabama legend. She didn't refer to him as Coach Saban, Coach or even Nick. She addressed him by his last name only. You can check out that audio for yourself below.

When I first heard it, I'll be honest ... I perked up. I've heard Saban directly addressed by the three names above, but I've rarely heard him directly addressed as just Saban. And see, there's a difference here.

Putting the name "Saban" in an article, title or even addressing him as such when talking about him isn't all that rare. It is rare, however, to hear someone talking to him address him by just his last name. It was different, and different stands out.

That doesn't mean she was in the wrong, however.

Personally, I will always address him as Coach Saban or Nick Saban -- or at least I try to. Even when I'm talking about him, I always strive to use one of those two terms. I'm not perfect at it by any means, but I'm wary of it.

Why, you might ask? Well, when I got into this business five years ago, my dad told me a story about the late Paul "Bear" Bryant and how people spoke to him back in the day. There were plenty who just called him "The Bear." But many -- I would even say most -- referred to him as Coach Bryant, and they certainly addressed him directly as such.

My dad just wanted me to be aware of that. It's not that calling him Saban or even Nick would be a bad thing necessarily, but he felt going the extra mile to show respect would help me in this business.

It's the same concept as saying "Yes, ma'am," "No, ma'am," "Yes, sir" and "No, sir." It's something you don't see much anymore, but when you do, it stands out. In this business, you want to stand out -- as long as it's in a good way.

So, when I heard this journalist address the six-time national championship-winning head coach as Saban, I noticed. But I'll continue to reiterate that this isn't a knock on her at all. I'm speaking from my own personal experience, and no one should be forced to share that approach or that opinion.

This is where I believe TV sports anchor Rick Karle got it wrong. He made a couple of reasonable points during his Monday Facebook rant that has since gone viral, but boy, did he sure take the wrong approach in his delivery. If you're unfamiliar with his words on the topic, let's get you up to speed.

Here is a snippet from the Facebook post from WVTM's Rick Karle:

You can read that entire post here, if you're interested in getting the full message and context.

according to others


Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.