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Nate Oats issues statement after backlash over Brandon Miller comments

Nate Oats at a press conference

Oct 19, 2022; Birmingham, Alabama, US; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nate Oats during the SEC Basketball Media Days at Grand Bohemian Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Nate Oats issued a statement on Tuesday after receiving backlash for his comments about Brandon Miller and the freshman forward’s role in the death of a 23-year-old woman last month.

Former Alabama player Darius Miles was kicked off the team after being arrested for a capital murder charge in the shooting of 23-year-old Jamea Harris in Tuscaloosa on January 15. Two days after the murder, we learned that Miles had provided the gun used by 20-year-old Michael “Buzz” Davis to shoot Harris.

On Tuesday, a new detail about the murder was alleged.

A police detective testified that Miller brought a gun to Miles that was later used in the killing. The gun belonged to Miles, and Miller brought it to his former teammate at Miles’ request.

Tuscaloosa chief deputy D.A. Paula Whitle told AL.com that Miller was not charged with anything because there is no crime he could be charged for.

Miller, who is the leading scorer for the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide, has played in all 27 of their games.

Alabama coach Nate Oats said Tuesday that Miller was not in any trouble despite bringing the gun to Miles.

“We knew about that. Can’t control everything everybody does outside of practice. Nobody knew that was going to happen. College kids are out, Brandon hasn’t been in any type of trouble nor is he in any type of trouble in this case. Wrong spot at the wrong time,” Oats said.

Oats characterizing Miller bringing the gun to Miles that was later used in the murder as “wrong spot at the wrong time” did not sit well with many.

The Tide coach later released a statement addressing his earlier statements.

“I thought it was important for me to clarify the unfortunate remarks I made earlier. This entire time I’ve tried to be thoughtful in my words relative to this tragic incident, and my statements came across poorly,” Oats said in the statement.

“We were informed by law enforcement of other student-athletes being in the vicinity, and law enforcement has repeatedly told us that no other student-athletes were suspects—they were witnesses only. Our understanding is that they have all been fully truthful and cooperative. In no way did I intend to downplay the seriousness of this situation or the tragedy of that night. My prayers continue to go out to Jamea Harris’s family.”

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