Da’Shawn Hand will have the opportunity to play in Alabama’s opener against Florida State despite his DUI arrest last weekend, head coach Nick Saban said on Thursday.
Hand won’t be suspended if he completes his prescribed internal discipline. He was found sleeping in his car with the keys in the ignition early Saturday morning.
“It’s not OK that he’s drinking, with me, and that’s a behavioral issue that needs to be addressed and we will address it,” Saban said. “But the fact that he didn’t drive the car and wasn’t driving the car and did not put other people at risk, which to me is the most significant thing when you drive under the influence.”
Hand participated in the open period of practice on Thursday as the Crimson Tide opened fall camp. The senior projects as a starter on the defensive line this season.
Saban said Hand was placed in 48-hour inpatient treatment for alcohol after his arrest so professionals could assess what help he needed. He’ll be required to complete community service and participate in a police ridealong among “some different things” as part of his discipline from the program, Saban said.
“If he does everything he needs to do, he will not be suspended, because I think what we’re doing is helping the player,” Saban said. “If he had driven the car, it would have been a totally different circumstance. Even if he didn’t get arrested, and he put himself in that situation at 4:30 in the morning being in that condition, we would have sent him to do the same thing, for his future sake of his decision making.”
Saban addressed Hand’s situation with the rest of the team as well so others could learn from it.
“Every opportunity that we have, whether it’s somebody on our team, or somebody somewhere else, we use every one of these as opportunities to teach and opportunities for the other people to learn, all the time,” Saban said. “We do it with former players doing good things. We do it with (current) players doing good things. We do it with other people doing not-so-good things and making poor choices and decisions.”