Did Nick Saban know the rest of the story when he did not suspend Jermaine Burton?

Alabama coach Nick Saban said last Saturday that “if you knew the whole story, maybe you wouldn’t suspend the guy either.”

Some more of the video story surfaced Thursday night, concerning Alabama wide receiver Jermaine Burton slapping the back of a female Tennessee fan’s head from behind after the Crimson Tide’s loss at Tennessee on Oct. 15.

Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jermaine Burton (3) runs with the ball in the game between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Alabama Crimson Tide on October 01, 2022 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, AR 
(John Bunch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Saban decided not to suspend Burton for Alabama’s next game, which was against Mississippi State last Saturday. Burton started the game and caught two passes for 40 yards in a 30-6 win, and Saban has been roundly criticized for playing him.

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But the latest video showed four male Tennessee-clad fans coming right up to Burton and apparently pushing him as he was walking off the field. Then another Tennessee male fan clearly pushed Burton from the side. After that, Burton is seen pushing multiple other Tennessee fans and apparently getting in the way of fans. Then finally, he pushes the back of the female Tennessee fan’s head after she had already passed him and not touched him as he continued to walk off the field.

That last portion of the video, which was the only part available at the time, led to the original story by OutKick about Burton on Oct. 18.

The latest and longest video with the new angle, however, was taken down by YouTube on Friday morning for copyright reasons. It showed the Tennessee fans confronting Burton, a junior transfer from Georgia who had never previously been in a field storming. While playing at Georgia in the 2020 and ’21 seasons, fans never rushed the field after any of Georgia’s games home, away or neutral.

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Alabama sports information director Josh Maxson told OutKick on Friday morning that he would get the latest video to Saban, who was out of town as Alabama has an open date on Saturday. But that was when the video was still available. Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne also was not in the office Friday.

Alabama wide receiver Jermaine Burton (3) makes a catch as he’s defended by Tennessee defensive back Christian Charles (14) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn.
(AP Photo/Wade Payne)

“No one’s available for comment right now,” Maxson said.

OutKick spoke to SEC associate commissioner Herb Vincent on Friday, but he had no comment. Historically, the SEC prefers to let its individual member schools handle incidents after games and does not comment on such issues, other than fining schools for allowing fans to enter the field after a game.

Tennessee was fined $100,000 for allowing the field storming after the Alabama game, which was its second offense against the SEC’s on-field policy. LSU was fined $250,000 after its win over Ole Miss last Saturday for only a partial field storming because that was its third offense.

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Saban may not need to see the video, though, if Burton accurately relayed to Saban what happened to him before he struck the back of the head of the woman, who did not fall or stop walking or sustain injuries. She has also not pressed charges.

Maxson confirmed that Saban did speak to Burton about the incident after the Tennessee game.

College Football: Alabama head coach Nick Saban looks on vs Tennessee during a game played at Neyland Stadium. Knoxville, TN 10/15/2022  
(Carlos M. Saavedra/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images))

“I talked to the guy (Burton),” Saban said after the State game Saturday, but he still criticized Burton.

“It’s about having the proper respect for other people,” he said.

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Regardless of what happened and when to Burton on the field, he did not respect others as he walked off the field, and some obviously did not respect him. The video – now removed – did better illustrate just how chaotic the scene was after the game, and that Burton was also hit.

But it would have been more understandable had Burton hit the back of the head of one of the male fans who hit him and not a female who didn’t. For that reason, he still should have been suspended one game.

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