U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R) responded to University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban’s involvement in politics.
Tuberville, the former Auburn University coach, said anyone in the public eye should use their voice as long as they know what they’re talking about.
“Everybody needs to have a voice,” said Tuberville. “I think that you really need to think about it before you talk. To be honest with you, there are some sports figures across the country the last few years that have spoken before they really knew what they were talking about.”
Tuberville was responding to a question asked by 1819 News, after Saban joined a number of other well-known sports figures from West Virginia urging West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, to support passage of the Freedom to Vote Act.
The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, is a combination of two voting rights bills. The bill would give the federal government more control over state voting procedures.
Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL07), who introduced the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, said in October of 2021 that the act should be passed to restore full protections of the Voting Rights Act.
Tuberville said the legislation being considered would “eliminate voter ID requirements, allow non-citizens to vote and make it easier to cheat in elections.”
Republicans will block debate via the filibuster unless Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, back off their stances of filibuster protection. Democrats could change the filibuster with complete unity; however, Senate rules, as currently constructed, require 60 votes for debate to end
Manchin and Sinema have so far refused to support making a filibuster exception for the voting rights bill. Without the 60 votes to overcome the filibuster, proposed legislation can be kept off the Senate floor indefinitely.
Saban said he was not in favor of ending the Senate filibuster rule, which Republicans are expected to use to block the Democrats’ proposed voting legislation.
Tuberville did not come out against Saban’s involvement or against Saban’s knowledge of what is happening in Washington. Although the two take a different stance on the voting rights bill, Tuberville was supportive of Saban using his voice and he said he believes Saban gets the purpose the filibuster serves.
“I think the big deal is if you look on down the line there that Coach Saban was very adamant that we do not bust the filibuster, and that’s what this whole thing is about,” Tuberville told 1819 News. “He understands that. He understands that we can’t leave the minority out in this country.”
Other well-known sports figures that signed the letter to Manchin included NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West, former West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck, and former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Tuberville again said he supports anyone having a voice as long as their voice does not misconstrue the facts.
“I just think that they need to be more careful,” said Tuberville. “Everybody needs to have their voice, it’s a free country.”
The text of the letter signed by the sports figures can be seen here.
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819News.com.