Prior to No. 2 Alabama’s 86-83 win over Arkansas on Saturday, the freshman forward was announced over the loud speakers at Coleman Coliseum as part of the starting lineup introductions. Miller walked through a tunnel of teammates and smoke machines, before being patted down by senior Adam Cottrell.
Oats explained that the gesture is ‘something that’s been going on all year,’ but the pat-down has taken on new meaning following a recent development in the fatal shooting of a 23-year old woman during an argument last month in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
WHAT WE KNOW: Brandon Miller, Alabama basketball, murder and controversy
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Social media users slammed the pat-down as ‘insensitive’ and ‘tone deaf’ in light of the tragic controversy. Oats said the backlash was brought to his attention after the game.
‘It’s not appropriate. It’s been addressed, and I can assure you definitely will not happen again for the remainder of this year,’ Oats said, adding that he isn’t ‘involved’ with pregame introductions. ‘I don’t watch our introductions. … I’m drawing up plays during that time.’
This isn’t the first time the Alabama basketball team has come under fire this week for insensitive behavior. Oats found himself on the receiving end of backlash after he offered up a tone-deaf reply to Miller’s alleged role in the fatal shooting.
“We knew about that. Can’t control everything everybody does outside of practice,’ Oats said on Tuesday. ‘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. Just in the wrong spot at the wrong time.”
Oats later issued an apology for his ‘unfortunate remarks,’ saying, ‘In no way did I intend to downplay the seriousness of the situation of the tragedy of that night.’
Miller’s attorney said his client had “never touched the gun, was not involved in its exchange” and “never knew that illegal activity involving the gun would occur.”
He went on to play in Alabama’s 78-76 upset win over South Carolina on Wednesday, putting up a career-high 41 points, eight rebounds and three steals. On Saturday, Miller finished with 24 points and six rebounds against Arkansas.