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Alabama football coach Nick Saban scolds elephant mascot in COVID-19 PSA

Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban (L) used the school's mascot, Big Al, to remind people to wear masks and practice social distancing in a recent public service announcement. File Photo by Ken Levine/UPI
Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban (L) used the school's mascot, Big Al, to remind people to wear masks and practice social distancing in a recent public service announcement. File Photo by Ken Levine/UPI | License Photo

May 22 (UPI) -- Alabama college football coach Nick Saban recently took the team's elephant mascot, Big Al, to task in a public service announcement about coronavirus pandemic safety precautions.

The Crimson Tide posted the message Thursday on social media. The video also featured Jeff Allen, Alabama's associate athletic director for sports medicine and head athletic trainer.

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The video began with Saban and Allen walking out from a doorway in one of Alabama's football facilities. The mask-wearing duo then runs into Big Al, who wasn't wearing a mask over his trunk.

"Hey, Big Al. You need to be staying six feet away from me," Saban said. "And haven't I told you that you have to wear a mask when you are in this building?"

Allen then took out a tape measure to mark off six feet of distance between himself and the elephant mascot.

"All of us want to make sure we play football this fall," Saban said. "To make that happen, we must be sure we stay at home if we have symptoms, wash our hands often and follow all social distancing guidelines. Please wear a mask anytime you are around other people."

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Saban also appeared in a public service announcement in March. He urged people to stay home and obey social distancing guidelines and thanked medical professionals in that 90-second message.

Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne said in early May that he has spoken with other athletic directors about the possibility of fans wearing masks if crowds are allowed at college football games in 2020. Alabama still hasn't allowed students to return to campus but Saban and a small group of staff members have returned to work at Alabama athletic facilities.

The NCAA announced Wednesday that voluntary player activities can resume June 1. Alabama's first football game is scheduled for Sept. 5 against USC. Byrne and USC athletic director Mike Bohn have both said the schools plan on keeping the game on their schedules.

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