Paul Jacob

Football coach Nick Saban is too busy to have dinner with the President of the United States. Is this a great country or what?

Saban is the head coach of the National Football League's Miami Dolphins. He's at the top of his profession, having already won a college football national championship at Louisiana State and presided over a dramatic turnaround in his first NFL season at the helm in Miami.

Saban's ambition and commitment, drive and accomplishments reflect an essential element of what makes America so great.

But this is not the universal opinion. Others seem to be saying to the coach, "How dare you?"

You see, they can't get over the fact that Saban declined an invitation to dine with the President of the United States.

"It was really a tough decision," Saban said. "I feel like my first responsibility is our team. That in no way disrespects the importance of the opportunity I would have loved to have had to spend dinner with the president."

Case closed. Like many of us, Saban's busy, he's a man with responsibilities. He's in the middle of pre-season football camp trying to get his team ready for the coming season. There is no politics to this. But that didn't stop an onslaught of whining.

One blogger at Fox Sports posited that, "Nick Sabin isn't the brightest cookie on the sheet." Unfortunately, the blogger misspelled the coach's last name. But then, so did the sports director for the Wisconsin Radio Network, Bill Scott, who wrote, "Sabin must be a real knucklehead, or he's real full of himself. . . . this guy needs to get a life." Uh, the point is, he has a life, and the priorities to fit it.

But there are other priorities. "It wasn't a tough decision," argued sportswriter Michael Wilbon, "as much as it was a dumb decision, certainly an arrogant decision."

Arrogant? What on earth can Mr. Wilbon mean by "arrogant"? Well, it helps to know that Wilbon's home paper is the Washington Post.

You see, Saban's decision calls into question the supremacy of our ruling elite. Mere citizens like Saban — or you or me — are not supposed to have any activities in our lives that could possibly come before our awe at the brilliance of our political leaders (or is that shock and awe?) and our steadfast desire to have our hands shaken, our babies kissed or just to bask in the glow of their powerlust.


Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.