Tommy Tuberville in a video accompanying a tweet where he called criticism from military officials "woke propaganda." Tommy Tuberville in a video accompanying a tweet where he called criticism from military officials “woke propaganda.” (Senator Tommy Tuberville on Twitter.)

Former Ole Miss, Auburn, Texas Tech and Cincinnati head coach and former ESPN college football analyst Tommy Tuberville has been in the U.S. Senate (as a Republican representing Alabama) since 2021, and he’s become involved in some notable controversies there. The latest is his ongoing hold on senior military nominations in protest of a Pentagon policy reimbursing military service members and their families for travel to obtain abortion care. Tuberville’s actions there have led to the blocking of more than 300 military nominees, and could even impact the nomination of Gen. C.K. Brown to succeed Gen. Mark Milley as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

On Tuesday, in a joint interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall,  Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro and Army Secretary Christine Wormuth all blasted Tuberville’s actions. That interview saw Wormuth saying “It is just unprecedented to be attacking apolitical general officers and flag officers in this way. It is taking our apolitical military … and eroding its foundations,” Kendall saying “Our potential adversaries are paying attention” and “It is affecting how they view the United States and our military capabilities and support for the military,” and Del Toro (who was born in Cuba) saying “As someone born in a communist country, I would have never imagined one of our own senators would actually be aiding and abetting a communist and other autocratic regimes around the world.”  That came a day after those secretaries penned a joint op-ed in The Washington Post titled “Stop this dangerous hold on senior officers.”

On Wednesday, though, Tuberville shot back with a tweet describing the secretaries’ criticism as “woke propaganda.” And that tweet came with a video claiming military leadership positions aren’t important. Some of Tuberville’s comments there included “The people we need to be really worried about are colonels and majors and sergeants and privates, they’re the people who fight wars. The people up here at the Pentagon, I don’t know what they do every day, but they’re more of advice.”

That led to a lot of criticism, and to some college football fans bringing up some of Tuberville’s less-than-stellar moments in his previous profession. Here’s some of that:

This isn’t the only criticism Tuberville has drawn recently. In another interview on Fox News earlier this week, he complained about Navy sailors “doing poems on aircraft carriers,” and got roasted for that.

And Tuberville’s approach to these confirmations took fire from Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder earlier this week, in football terms:

There, Ryder says “Imagine going into the football season with a bunch of acting coaches for each of our teams, with a regulation that limits any of those acting coaches from presuming that he or she was actually going to officially lead the team, and those acting coaches who come up through the organization are now responsible for not only being the offensive and defensive coordinators but also acting as the head coach…who are the fans going to hold accountable?”

Tuberville was controversial as a football coach and commentator as well, particularly with his 1998 quote of “They’d have to carry me out of here in a pine box” before leaving Ole Miss for Auburn, his 2012 exit in the middle of dinner with a Texas Tech recruit to take the Cincinnati job, and his 2017 claim that Lubbock “looked like Iraq.” And he’s definitely continuing that run of controversy in the Senate, both with football comments and comments and actions beyond that.

[Senator Tommy Tuberville on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.