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Nick Saban: I would have 'no problem' signing gay player

Butch Dill / USA Today Sports
Alabama's Nick Saban indicated Tuesday a gay player would be welcomed on his team.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban said Tuesday he would have no problem signing a gay recruit, and noted he's had no issues with gay players on teams he's coached in the past. It's a question more college football coaches might be asked in the coming months, as St. Louis Rams rookie Michael Sam makes his way through the offseason as the NFL's first openly gay player.

But it's one coaches are likely to answer in much the same way.

"As long as we respect them, and they should respect us, I would have no problem with it," Saban said, according to the Twitter feed of Antonya English of the Tampa Bay Times.

Saban is in Destin, Fla., along with other SEC coaches for the league's annual meetings.

One of Saban's closest friends in the coaching profession, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, coached the NFL's first openly gay draft prospect in defensive end Michael Sam. While Sam's sexual orientation wasn't publicly disclosed until February, Sam made the entire Tigers team aware of it in August with an announcement during a team-building exercise.

Saban and Pinkel were college teammates at Kent State.

If a college coach said he wouldn't recruit a gay player, it would create a firestorm, leaving really only one viable answer, no matter how a coach feels about the matter. Bad answers can be how news is made, however, and with SEC scheduling issues solved for the time being, there isn't a hot topic to be found at the annual meetings.

As such, a comment Saban made earlier Tuesday suggested he saw a question like this one coming:

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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