Alabama men’s basketball coach Nate Oats is walking back some of the horrific comments he made Tuesday as the fatal shooting case of Darius Miles took another turn. During Miles’ hearing on Tuesday, prosecutors revealed that star freshman Brandon Miller contacted Miles the night Jamea Harris was shot and killed.
When pressed by reporters about the new details that emerged Tuesday, Oats said that Alabama was already aware and tried to downplay the severity of another player’s involvement.
“We’ve known the situation since [it happened],” Oats said. “We’ve been fully cooperating with law enforcement the entire time. The whole situation is sad. The team closed practice with a prayer for the situation today, knowing that we had this trial today. We think of Jamea and her family, Kaine. Really think about her son, Kaine, that was left behind. So it’s sad.
“We knew about that. Can’t control everything anybody does outside of practice. Nobody knew that was going to happen. College kids are out, Brandon hasn’t been in any type of trouble nor is he in any type of trouble in this case. Wrong spot at the wrong time.”
Oats’ tone-deaf comments didn’t sit right with those in the college basketball world, as many suggested that he should be fired for his shocking response or lack thereof. He issued a statement late Tuesday night, attempting to amend his comments earlier in the day.
“I thought it was important for me to clarify the unfortunate remarks I made earlier,” Oats said in the statement via the Tuscaloosa News. “This entire time I’ve tried to be thoughtful in my words relative to this tragic incident, and my statements came across poorly.
“We were informed by law enforcement of other student-athletes being in the vicinity, and law enforcement has repeatedly told us that no other student-athletes were suspects—they were witnesses only. Our understanding is that they have all been fully truthful and cooperative. In no way did I intend to downplay the seriousness of this situation or the tragedy of that night. My prayers continue to go out to Jamea Harris’s family.”