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Dr. Saturday

Vanderbilt’s James Franklin apologizes for ‘Nicky Satan’ comment

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

View photo

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(USA Today Sports Images)

Blame over exuberance for James Franklin’s poor choice of words during a high school sports banquet in Macon, Ga., where he referred to Alabama coach Nick Saban as “Nicky Satan.”

C'mon, you chuckled.

[Related: Is Alabama's 2012 BCS national title tainted?]

Franklin, Vanderbilt’s head coach, is a ball of energy and emotion and sometimes he lets those two things get a bit out of hand. Franklin issued an apology after the video of his comments went viral and even said he called Saban personally to apologize.

"(I was) really talking about the work ethic that he has a reputation for and that we’re going to outwork them," Franklin said. "I made a joke, and in today’s society with all the media and social media and people with tape recorders and things like that, it doesn’t come off that way. I know people have tremendous pride in Alabama, and their fans are fanatical. So I understand. But it was a joke, and I didn’t mean to offend anybody."

This isn’t the first foot-in-mouth comment Franklin has made while the head coach at Vanderbilt. Last May, he was quoted about hiring assistant coaches based on how hot their wives were.

"I've been saying it for a long time, I will not hire an assistant coach until I've seen his wife. If she looks the part, and she's a D-I recruit (one of the nation's best-of-the-best), then you got a chance to get hired. That's part of the deal."

Yeah, he issued an apology for that slip of the tongue, too.

[Also: Hoaxer Ronaiah Tuiasosopo professes love for Manti Te'o on 'Dr. Phil']

It’s hard to blame Franklin for his bravado. He’s a taken a Vanderbilt team that was largely irrelevant for the bulk of its existence and turned it into at least a recognizable figure in the SEC. He led the Commodores to back-to-back bowl seasons and their first nine-win season since 1915.

Yeah, he says and does some things that are a bit ff the wall, but it's hard to believe there's any real malice in it. Franklin is a guy who lives for getting people fired up and no better way to light a fire than to call Nick Saban the devil.

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