Upshaw Punished, Not Suspended
Courtney Upshaw
Courtney Upshaw

Posted Aug 20, 2009

Just over two weeks before the opening game, Alabama Coach Nick Saban had a situation he would rather not have to deal with, one that has been too much a part of Crimson Tide football in recent years. A Bama player was arrested early Thursday morning. Saban did say that Courtney Upshaw would be punished, but not suspended.

Courtney Upshaw had been in the news recently as challenging for a starting job as Alabama’s jack linebacker. On Thursday he found himself in the news for having had an altercation with a woman, a situation that led to both being arrested.

Upshaw is a 6-2, 249-pound outside linebacker who was prominent last year as a freshman member of Alabama special teams. He led Bama in special teams tackles with 18 in 2008. Last week he was behind Eryk Anders at jack linebacker, but was rotating in with the first group at the pass-rush position.

Saban said, “This is as fine a young man as we have in the program. Really, a great person. He really works hard academically. You couldn’t ask anybody to be a better representative of the organization than he is. He really overachieves as a football player and has done a really good job for us and the organization.

“He was put in a little bit of an uncompromising position and he didn‘t handle it very well. He obviously made a mistake in how he handled the situation. I think nobody feels worse about it than he does.

“We’ll obviously handle this internally. I’ve discussed it with him. He knows what his punishment is, he knows what his penalty is, he knows what he’s going to have to do. He’s never had any other issues or any problems academically, socially or as a football player, so he’s not going to be suspended over this. He is on behavioral probation and does have things to do internally in the program to learn from the mistake that he made.

“And, hopefully, our entire team can learn something from the mistake that he made.”

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