Ad Spot

May 29, 2022

Nick Saban wades into politics as he and others urge W.Va.’s Manchin for voter rights protections

University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban and other prominent sports figures with ties to West Virginia have urged U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin to support sweeping legislation to protect the right to vote.

Saban was joined by NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West, a fellow West Virginia native, in a Jan. 13 letter penned to the Democratic senator ahead of the Senate’s debate of the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act. The Senate took up the bill Tuesday, and it appeared headed for defeat.

The package before the Senate would make Election Day a national holiday and require access to early voting and mail-in ballots that became overwhelmingly popular during the COVID-19 pandemic. Voting advocates nationwide have warned that Republican-led states have passed laws making it more difficult for Black Americans and others to vote by consolidating polling locations, requiring certain types of identification and ordering other changes.

In the letter, the group said the principles that help ensure fair and free elections are “now under intentional and unprecedented challenge.”

“We are all certain that democracy is best when voting is open to everyone on a level playing field; the referees are neutral; and at the end of the game the final score is respected and accepted,” the letter reads.

The letter was also signed by former NFL players Oliver Luck and Darryl Talley, both of whom are West Virginia University graduates, as well as former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

The group said that lawmakers must “guarantee that all Americans have an equal voice in our democracy and that Federal elections are conducted with integrity so that the votes of all eligible voters determine the election outcomes.”

The voting bill was the Democrats’ top priority this Congress, and the House swiftly approved the legislation, only to see it languish in the Senate, opposed by Republicans. With a 50-50 split, Democrats have a narrow Senate majority — Vice President Kamala Harris can break a tie — but they lack the 60 votes needed to overcome the GOP filibuster.

Attention is focused intently on Democrats Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who were singled out with a barrage of criticism during Martin Luther King Jr. Day events for their refusal to change what civil rights leaders call the “Jim Crow filibuster.”

Martin Luther King III, the son of the late civil rights leader, compared Sinema and Manchin to the white moderate his father wrote about during the civil rights battles of the 1950s and 1960s — a person who declared support for the goals of Black voting rights but not the direct actions or demonstrations that ultimately led to passage of the landmark legislation.

Both Manchin and Sinema say they support the package, but they are unwilling to change the Senate rules to muscle it through that chamber over Republican objections.

Asked about the letter Tuesday, Manchin told reporters that Saban had added a footnote, that was not included in the released letter, saying he supports the filibuster and to not get rid of it.

“We should all support the right the vote, everyone, but not breaking the rules to make new rules,” Manchin said.

News

Alabama man turned a Glock pistol into a illegal machine gun, feds say; he faces a decade in prison now

News

Alabama inmate who escaped with jailed will seek to move trials, attorney says

News

Alabama hospitals say COVID-19 patient counts on rise, again

News

Alabama man who bilked banks to buy Ferraris and Lamborghinis ordered to repay $12M serve 15 years in prison

News

Traffic stop on Alabama interstate leads to discovery of 129 pounds of marijuana in vehicle

News

Another Gulf Coast tragedy: 14-year-old boy missing in Alabama waters after father tried to save him

News

Alabama man kills wife, two teen girls, then turns gun on himself, police say

News

Man admits to bilking $1.3M from dozens of women posing as fake physician on dating sites

News

Police say roach infestation contributing cause of 72-year-old Alabama woman’s death. Two arrested on elderly abuse, neglect charges.

News

Alabama police: 5 of 6 juveniles involved in police chase arrested; 1 juvenile still at large. Chase started after report of drug activity at gas station.

News

Three church day care workers face dozens of abuse counts, some videoed, police say

News

‘Perversion of justice’ — Alabama DA says sentence inadequate for man who will spend less than 6 years behind bars for DUI wreck that left father, son with life changing injuries

News

Alabama inmate convicted of murdering 15-year-old in 2007 captured after escape

News

Child killed when car collides with tractor on Alabama highway

News

Alabama woman killed Sunday night in two-vehicle highway crash

News

Alabama man linked to 1988 killing of a sixth-grade girl in Massachusetts

News

Nick Saban: ‘We don’t tamper with anybody’ after Louisville coach accuses Alabama of mischief

News

Escaped fugitive, jailer had five guns and $29,000 in cash when captured; they were prepared for shootout, sheriff says

News

Police: Former Alabama jail official accused of helping inmate escape shot, killed herself

News

Alabama county corrections officer arrested, fired after he reportedly engaged in sex with inmate

News

Escaped Alabama inmate, jail official who disappeared more than a week ago captured in Indiana

News

The unsolved murder of Delange Harris — Alabama deputies working with ABI and FBI to solve 11 year-old murder case

News

Body of Alabama father who drowned during rescue of 6-year-old son recovered on Mother’s Day

News

Woman killed in weekend rural Alabama crash