Digital Media Center
Bryant-Denny Stadium, Gate 61
920 Paul Bryant Drive
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0370
(800) 654-4262

© 2024 Alabama Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Former Alabama football coach throws a penalty flag on pro-union ads at Mercedes-Benz

Former University of Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban speaks during a roundtable on the future of college athletics and the need to codify name, image and likeness rights for student athletes, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, March 12, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
/
AP
Former University of Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban speaks during a roundtable on the future of college athletics and the need to codify name, image and likeness rights for student athletes, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, March 12, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Voting is underway at Mercedes Benz near Tuscaloosa on whether to go union. There’s a big change now for this ballot involving the United Auto Union. Former Alabama football coach Nick Saban says leave him out. He’s referring to the use of his name and photo on pro-union material. Saban says a previous ad did so without his permission. The UAW is hoping to follow up a seventy percent yes vote at the Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga.

The ad by More Perfect Union Solidarity is airing as more than 5,000 Mercedes workers in Alabama vote this week on whether to join the United Auto Workers. The ad included comments the legendary football coach made when asked a question about the possible organization of college athletes.

"Not only were these comments taken entirely out of context, they were also being used without my knowledge or permission. I do not personally endorse the UAW or its campaign and have asked the UAW to remove any advertisements featuring me from circulation," Saban said in a statement.

"I encourage all Team Members to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming election," Saban added.

More Perfect Union Solidarity President Faiz Shakir maintained that "we didn't take anything Coach said out of context."

"We presented his public statements exactly as he made them; and we'd ask people to watch the ad and judge for themselves," Shakir said.

Voting ends Friday in the high-stakes election that comes as the UAW is trying to crack union resistance in the Deep South.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.
News from Alabama Public Radio is a public service in association with the University of Alabama. We depend on your help to keep our programming on the air and online. Please consider supporting the news you rely on with a donation today. Every contribution, no matter the size, propels our vital coverage. Thank you.