Two well-known leaders had surprisingly similar approaches and surprisingly different results regarding the fight against COVID-19 over the weekend.

Each is a well-known name and face. Everyone reaches the top of their profession. And each one was in the state of Alabama – one of the least vaccinated states in this woefully under-vaccinated United States.

The first was Nick Saban, the successful football coach at the University of Alabama. Asked about a player who was trying to move up the depth table after missing pre-season pieces for not following “team’s COVID protocols,” Saban could not have been more blunt.

“It’s up to him. It’s not up to me,” Saban said of the player on Saturday, via “He knows what he’s supposed to do. He knows what he’s supposed to do. It’s not a democracy. Not everyone can do what they want to do. Not everyone can do. what he wants to do. You have to join and do what you’re supposed to do to be part of the team. “

Now consider Saban’s approach and message with a backlash against an individual who demands loyalty from his followers.

At a rally from Donald Trump to pro-Trump Cullman, Alabama, the former president was booed at his suggestion to supporters to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

“I recommend – take the vaccines. I did it, it’s good,” he said.

The crowd booed. Trump, reading the room, quickly changed the subject and the subject. Yes, he told the crowd to get the shot, but he didn’t dwell on the subject.

Saban, conversely, has made it clear that managing COVID issues is just as important as weight training sessions and academic requirements to remain eligible.

The coach said it’s not a democracy, and of course that makes running a national champion team different in theory from running a nation. But his continued success gives his approach to building and preparing teams undeniable credibility and validity.

At its core, COVID-19, for Saban, is an obstacle to overcome and a dangerous distraction for successful football. Too many of our elected leaders see it as political football.

No leadership approach, of course, is universal. And yes, playing SEC football is a privilege. Coaches in the Saban position can demand and obtain obedience. It’s their path or the highway, and it’s for the success of the team and the development of the players.

Likewise, Trump’s base of supporters is more loyal than ever; they have remained with him throughout his unexpected rise from the Oval Office debate scene to his unofficial post of “GOP Guardian” for those with electoral ambitions in 2022.

But unlike Saban, Trump’s leadership was born out of the moment. And when the moment passes, so does Trump. Now, these changes can even elicit boos from the depths of the devoted in arguably his most devoted state.

Which makes me wonder who ran who in Cullman?

And it makes me wonder if we could be better off with Saban in DC rather than the SEC.

Contact Jay Greeson at [email protected]

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