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JONATHAN TAYLOR, ALABAMA, AND A LOSS FOR WORDS

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A DEPRESSING NOTE ABOUT A DEPRESSING THING

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

That's my favorite question Holly asks here in a long list of unanswered questions: why the hell did Alabama even bother with Jonathan Taylor in the first place?

Because he's good at football isn't a good enough answer. If you assume Saban thought they could set him up in an environment where he would not regress back to domestic violence, then Alabama weirdly assumed they could do what fully funded domestic violence programs often fail to do, and that they did so without asking his former coach or the Athens D.A. about Taylor or his case. That's demonstrably strange on Alabama's part, particularly for a football program most people assume monitors their players with no fewer than eight unpaid grad assistants at a time.

And if you don't assume that, but instead simply believe that Saban cynically dismissed any questions about Taylor's behavior in the name of on-field production, well...that doesn't make much sense, either. Alabama's third-string defensive tackle is a three-star who would be starting on most other teams; their eye-popping giant of a tight end, O.J. Howard, was reduced to an afterthought in their talent-crammed offense. When Alabama even starts to feel a pinch of talent drop, it sends out Nick Saban, a human shark who feeds solely on the hopes and dreams of athletic 18 year olds, out to get more. A desperation for talent is a terrible plea here in any case, but particularly in this one.

That's one question that stumps here. Another: Saban and by extension Alabama ended their relationship with him, but ultimately why? What's the larger purpose here? To keep your school from being embarrassed, or to genuinely act in the best interests of the parties involved? Because I'm not sure on much here, and am deeply suspicious of anyone who is. If Taylor had been exiled from football altogether-- not just from Alabama, or the next enabling school down the line --there's no guarantees he wouldn't have become a repeat offender. He wasn't, and did it again anyway. That's how batterers work. They might stop, and they might just go kill their spouse. And whether treatment, jail, or therapy stops it or not can seem terrifyingly random from case to case.

And yes, I'm pretty sure Nick Saban shouldn't have touched him in the first place, but that's not the repellent part of the conversation here. That the first question asked is: What is or isn't in the interests of a college football program? That's the move, to run to the institution and fret about its decisions and the reputation of the extremely wealthy men running this institution, and not about the people involved. That's the nauseating thing after the act to me. It just is, and even after trying I can't really even begin to articulate all the reasons why.* It just feels like failure in every goddamn direction, including this one.

*A good start, though, would be the AD's statement hoping "that Jonathan and the young lady involved can deal constructively with the issues that led to this situation." Because being in an alleged physical altercation with a 6'4", 315 man is something a woman can deal with "constructively."