In a press conference today, Alabama men’s basketball coach Nate Oats was asked to respond to comments Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski made on Wednesday, questioning the safety of college basketball in a pandemic.
Here is a transcript of Oats’s answer, which covers everything and nothing at all:
Oats: Can I ask you something? Because I just want to know your opinion. Do you think if Coach K hadn’t lost the two non-conference games at home, if he’d still be saying that?
Reporter: Probably not.
Oats: OK. That’s—I just wanted you to say it, not me. So. I, uh, look, here’s—here’s my deal on it. I think we’d have a whole lot more problems if we weren’t playing games, like they—they—I mean—tho—everybody talks about CO—here’s the other thing. If COVID’s so bad, all these coa—I—I’m—look, I’m trying to do my best to keep the mask up. I’ve already had COVID, so I don’t even—I, technically, I shouldn’t have to keep it up. Nobody can get it from me. No—I’m still within the 150 days of the NCAA’s recommended—I see all these other guys that haven’t had it and their mask’s down the whole game. It’s like they got a chin strap on. So if they’re really worried about COVID, you’d think their mask would be up the whole game, right? Like, I mean, so, I think some of them are using—uh, no, we should be playing in my opinion. We 100 percent should be playing basketball. Nobody talks about the mental—I—I—there’s a kid out of Detroit that went to another high major that I just talked to his uncle the other day ’cause his, uh, his cousin played for me in Detroit. He went to a high major school somewhere—mental health issue, came home because he was quarantined for weeks on end when he got there. Like what—what are these guys going to do if—I got three daughters, like, they need to be in school. Like, humans aren’t made to sit alone in isolation for weeks and weeks on end. I mean, we gotta—we gotta be careful with how we do life, but you still gotta do life. Part of life—a huge part of life for all these guys I’m coaching is being in the gym playing basketball. So, I think their mental health is in a much better spot playing basketball and I think the school, the SEC, the NCAA’s done a really good job making sure that we’re not putting any of them in danger. So, I—no. I don’t agree with them at all, and I—you answered the question for me, so, thanks.
This portion of Oats’s presser did not appear to make it into the final cut of the video uploaded by Alabama Athletics.