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NASHVILLE — Alabama handled Mississippi State on Friday afternoon at the SEC Tournament, but the most pressure the Tide faced all afternoon happened off the court. In what felt like a tense White House briefing, Nate Oats and Brandon Miller had to face multiple questions after Oats started the presser with a four-minute filibuster.
I’ve been in a lot of press conferences during my time covering college athletics and this one was intense from the start. We all knew that once Alabama got out of Tuscaloosa and had to face questions about Brandon Miller’s gun situation from different media members that the tone could change. I just didn’t expect Nate Oats to be so stand-offish. It only took six minutes before the first question to Brandon Miller was asked, and we were off.
Miller, who broke his silence on Wednesday, was asked about being involved on some level with the death of a young mother and how he has been able to reconcile not missing any playing time.
“Respectfully, I am not gonna be able to say on that,” Miller responded to the question. The problem is that the question was not about the incident, which Brandon can simply give a ‘no comment, because of investigation’, which didn’t come. Instead, Miller is choosing not to speak on anything related to the matter, whether it pertains to the investigation or not.
Now, this is not going to work in a few months when Brandon Miller shows up to the NBA combine and multiple GM’s start to grill him on what happened that night. When given an opportunity to discuss the process in a follow-up question, Miller mentioned that he’s been leaning on his teammates.
Ok, that’s fine, but we’re just over a month away from him being away from his teammates and Alabama’s communication staff being able to protect him. I understand the gravity of this situation, I promise. I have no idea how I would react at his age if I was involved in the same incident. But I would hope I’d understand that the questions will not stop until it’s addressed.
The Tone Of Alabama Press Conferences Have Changed
There was a time during the press conference where Jahvon Quinerly was asked if owned a gun, which he responded with a resounding “no.” There most likely was a reason why that reporter asked the question. If Miller isn’t going to talk, reporters will ask his teammates about certain aspects of the program that involve Brandon Miller and the incident.
CHARLES BARKLEY SHARES HOW ALABAMA SHOULD HAVE HANDLED THE BRANDON MILLER SITUATION, SAYS STATE IS ‘BEHIND THE TIMES’
Later on, Miller and Quinerly were asked about their former teammate Darius Miles being indicted on a capitol murder charge. Miller quickly responded with ‘I’m not gonna be able to say on that’, which might become the norm, if Alabama keeps winning.
I have no doubt that Miller is leaning on his teammates during this time, with them doing everything they can to take the heat off their friend. But Nate Oats is the head coach at a powerhouse school that brings in massive sums of money. There will come a time where the investigation will be made public and further questions will arise.
Oats was asked twice if he had made any type of contact with the family of Jamea Jonae Harris, which he declined to answer, citing it as a ‘private’ matter.
“Listen, this whole situation has been, obviously, as you know, hard to deal with, tragic, to have any involvement in a young woman losing her life. What you ask is a private matter; I’m not going to discuss publicly with everybody. A lot of this is just hard to deal with, to be honest with you. But it’s a private matter,” Nate Oats answered.
The answer was followed up with the reporter asked if he had even made the attempt, which Oats again described as a private matter. But the problem with these answers is that Alabama brought this on themself.
SEC TOURNAMENT: COACHES ASKED ABOUT TEAM GUN POLICIES IN WAKE OF BRANDON MILLER INCIDENT AT ALABAMA
Two, three, four days after the initial incident, Alabama could’ve released something to the public about Brandon Miller being involved, even as a witness, in the case. Instead, they sat on it, for a while, until the court system released the information.
Questions Will Continue To Be Asked Of Alabama
The overly tense press conference ended with a question from myself in regards to team policy on weapons, and if Nate Oats had one. Also, I asked if the players had to go in-front of the student conduct board regarding the matter, with Oats mentioning the school policy.
“Yeah, our players are required to follow the university policy on guns, which essentially bans them on
campus. So, yeah, we do have a policy,” Oats tried to explain.
JA MORANT SHOWS GUN IN VIDEO AND IS REMOVED FROM GRIZZLIES, ALABAMA’S BRANDON MILLER DELIVERS MURDER WEAPON BUT KEEPS PLAYING? | GLENN GUILBEAU
In true White House press briefing form, the moderator called for the end of questions, which was met with one reporter trying to ask Oats about Miller as he stood up to leave.
Truly one of the most intense press conferences I’ve been involved in. If you think this is over, you’d be sorely mistaken. Whether it’s Saturday or two months from now in-front of an NBA GM, the questions will continue to be asked.
2 CommentsLeave a Reply
Alabama should face probation and ineligibility for the NCAA tournament.
The Alabama crowd doesn’t want their team members, there are two involved, being questioned about the death of Jamea Harris. If Oats didn’t want that question to be asked, why did he bring Miller to the press conference.
I’m still wondering how the folks that picked him to be SEC POTY did that?