Alabama head coach Nick Saban taped a PSA this week for the state of Alabama encouraging people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban taped a PSA this week for the state of Alabama to encourage people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the state confirmed to the Wall Street Journal‘s Louise Radnofsky and Ben Cohen.
The PSA comes as Alabama ranks near the bottom of states in the U.S. in which people have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the New York Times, as of Friday, May 7, just 33% of the state’s residents have received their first dose, well below the U.S. total of 45%
In the spot, which is set to air next week on radio, television and social media, Saban urges fans to get vaccinated as a way to help college football stadiums return to full capacity.
“College football fans and players both want full stadiums this fall,” Saban said in the video, per the WSJ. “Let’s make sure we can safely make this happen by getting vaccinated. Please get your COVID-19 vaccine. We want Bryant-Denny Stadium loud again this coming season—and Roll Tide!”
Following reports of the PSA, Alabama athletics director Greg Byrne said in a tweet, “Appreciate Coach Saban’s leadership encouraging vaccination.”
U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and former Auburn basketball star Charles Barkley also taped messages, according to the WSJ.
Saban has previously voiced PSAs to promote COVID-19 safety. Last March, he took part in a PSA urging hand-washing and social distancing. Two months later, he appeared in a PSA in which he scolded the Alabama mascot, Big Al, for not wearing a mask.
“All of us want to make sure we play football this fall. And to make that happen, we must be sure we stay at home if we have symptoms; wash your hands often; follow social distancing guidelines, and please wear a mask any time you’re around other people,” Saban said in that PSA.
“Alabama’s got all of the traits of a state that would need extra effort,” Frank Luntz, a prominent pollster and former Republican, told the WSJ. “It’s more rural. It’s more Trump. And it cares about its college sports. That’s perfect for the coach.”
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