Tua Tagovailoa made reference to his father disciplining him with a belt during his childhood in a feature that aired on ESPN’s “College GameDay” Saturday morning.
The feature, hosted by Tom Rinaldi, focused on the discipline and work ethic that Alabama’s star quarterback learned from his parents Diane and Galu. Less than 90 seconds into the segment, which you can view in full here on ESPN’s site, Tagovailoa told Rinaldi that “If I don’t perform well or perform the way I’m supposed to, I’m gonna get it after.”
Rinaldi followed up by asking Tagovailoa for a clarification of what “get it” means.
“Oh, well just know that the belt was involved and other things were involved as well,” Tagovailoa told him about what happened when he played poorly. “And it’s almost the same with school. If I don’t get this grade, I don’t get this grade, I’m going to have to suffer the consequences.”
The segment then cuts to Galu Tagovailoa, who says, “Two things in the Tagovailoa home is your faith and your discipline. It’s simple.”
It then goes to Diane Tagovailoa before going back to Galu.
“He means the Bible and the belt,” Diane Tagovailoa said. “You’ve gotta work son, you’ve gotta do better. The evaluation from dad is the most honest.”
Galu added: “I was tough. He can go 15-15 with four touchdowns but when he throws a pick it’s the worst game. It’s the worst game.”
The rest of the segment doesn’t contain any other references to the usage of a belt or a condemnation of the abusive tactic. Tua also said his father had the final say in wherever he was going to play college football.
As Awful Announcing points out, ESPN’s Desmond Howard even joked about the way Tagovailoa was disciplined by his father.
“I’m looking at that feature with Tua and I saw that his dad is like the Hawaiian version of Joe Jackson, there’s no way Alabama’s going to lose that game, cause out comes that belt,” Howard said before making his prediction for Saturday’s SEC championship game. “So I got Alabama big over Georgia.”
Tagovailoa is not the first prominent football player to be associated with the usage of a belt for child discipline. Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse in 2014 in an incident that he said stemmed from using a switch on his young son. He agreed to a plea deal that reduced the charges to a misdemeanor.
Peterson revealed in November that he still uses a belt to discipline his children despite the charges and his NFL suspension. Peterson was suspended after the charges and was not reinstated until the 2015 season.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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