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  • Writer's pictureKevin Scarbinsky

Right place, right time for Greg Byrne to tell Alabama's true story

Not sure exactly when it happened, but it was somewhere between the capital murder charge against a now-former basketball player, the marijuana possession with intent to sell and/or deliver charge against a now-suspended football player, the second-degree marijuana possession charge against a now-former basketball commit, the third-degree domestic violence arrest of a current senior staff member and the alleged links between an individual who reportedly placed a suspicious wager and the now-fired head baseball coach.

During that months-long mouthful of proven or presumed criminal behavior, the University of Alabama's athletics department has earned an updated motto that's not quite as catchy as the traditional Parole Tide but is equally as damning.

Wrong place, wrong time.

It's not completely accurate or totally fair - more on those counts in a moment, especially as they relate to Athletics Director Greg Byrne's stewardship - but here we are.

That phrase mimics and mocks Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats, who described the presence of All-American Brandon Miller at the fatal January shooting of Jamea Harris as "wrong spot, wrong time." Never mind the likelihood that time and the judicial system eventually may corroborate Oats' assessment.

Those four words, wielded like a weapon by cynics and rivals, speak to a perceived see-no-evil, win-at-all-costs culture at the Capstone. Considering that Alabama is home to more than 600 student-athletes, that conclusion is overbroad by many orders of magnitude, but given the athletic department's outsized prominence, one arrest is one too many. Especially when a life is lost.

The anti-Alabama snark and sarcasm is easy, perfect for our 140-character attention spans, which have no time for further investigation or reporting beyond the initial damaging headlines. The late Harvey Updyke, the departed tree killer with "too much Bama in me," might smirk and declare, "Roll Damn Tide." The large majority of Alabama fandom must be growing weary of the school's presence on the police blotter while thinking, "Damn, Roll Tide. Get your act together down there."

To say this is all a bad look is obvious, but an honest assessment of the state of Alabama athletics under Byrne's strong leadership requires looking deeper. ...

Read the rest of Kevin's column on the true state of Alabama athletics and his suggestion on how to combat an unusual run of negativity. Only in the Lede.

AD Greg Byrne has strengthened Alabama athletics, but that story has gotten lost in an unusual run of bad news.



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