Alabama coach Nick Saban — Joe Manchin’s longtime friend — signs letter urging the West Virginia senator to support voting rights

Nick Saban / Joe Manchin

Alabama football coach Nick Saban signed a letterto Joe Manchin pushing him to support voting rights. 
Saban and Manchin have a long history of friendship dating back to the football coach’s childhood. 
Manchin has resisted calls to amend the filibuster in the US Senate to push voting rights legislation through.

University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban signed a letter to West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin — his longtime friend — pushing him to support voting rights legislation. 

The letter to Manchin signed by Saban, a West Virginia native, urges “Congress to exercise its Constitutional responsibility to enact laws that set national standards for the conduct of Federal elections and for decisions that determine election outcomes. 

“We strongly support urgently needed legislation that will protect both the rights of voters and the integrity of outcomes in all Federal elections,” the letter opens. 

“The Freedom to Vote Act … effectively addresses these goals,” the letter said. 

Senate Democrats are following through on their promise to advance voting rights legislation.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is going through the initial procedural steps to set up an expected showdown tomorrow. Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, both key Democratic votes, support both of the major pending proposals, including the “Freedom to Vote Act.” But neither one supports changing the Senate’s rules that require a de-facto 60 votes to pass most legislation. This means both proposals will fail in the face of united Republican opposition. 

Saban was joined by other West Virginian sports figures including former NBA player Jerry West, former NFL player Oliver Luck, former NFL player Darryl Talley, and former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Saban and West both endorsed Manchin during his 2018 re-election. Both legends also starred in a 30-second ad aptly called “Coaches.”

Saban is also a longtime supporter and friend of Manchin’s. Saban’s father was even a mentor to Manchin, according to On3

“He was my idol when I was in high school,” Saban said of Manchin.

Manchin told ABC News that he calls the Alabama coach “Brother Saban.”

“They were four miles from where I grew up,” Manchin said. “We go on vacations together. I’m the godfather to his son.”

At least one Republican is already objecting to Saban’s endorsement of the voting bill. 

“Nick Saban should focus on winning National Championships instead of destroying our elections,” Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina wrote on Twitter.

Saban has won the most national championships of any coach in college football history. While his Crimson Tide fell short earlier this month, he has seven rings, six with Alabama and an earlier one with LSU. 

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Politics, Sports, News, Speed desk, Breaking, Joe Manchin, Nick Saban, Voting Rights

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