Tradition of postgame cigars resonates with players

Kevin Connell

When junior left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio thinks of how to describe the postgame locker room after a win over Tennessee, one word in particular comes to mind.

“Righteous,” he said. “You know the feeling of victory, the feeling of accomplishment, and you have the cigar to prove it. It’s a good feeling.”

With six straight victories over Tennessee, Alabama players have grown used to the postgame tradition of smoking a victory cigar in the locker room.

“My first year after we won, I didn’t think we could smoke inside the locker room,” senior linebacker C.J. Mosley said. “I’m not a cigar person, but it’s cool to have. It’s a tradition thing, so that’s always cool.”

The tradition began in the 1950s when Alabama head trainer Jim Goostree started giving out cigars after wins over Tennessee.

Coach Nick Saban said he has no problem with the tradition, but he doesn’t personally participate in the celebration.

“I don’t smoke, and I don’t particularly enjoy cigar smoke. But I know that’s something a lot of people really do enjoy,” Saban said. “It’s not a tradition that I started; it’s a tradition that was here that the players have continued. I think it’s something they have fun with. I’m happy that they do, but it’s not really something that I’m interested in.”

Saban said his team understands the significance of the upcoming game.

“I think our players really do respect this rivalry and understand what it takes to be successful in this game,” he said. “We just have to keep on keeping on to get ready for the rest of the week to try to do it.”

LaMichael Fanning suspended indefinitely

Sophomore defensive end LaMichael Fanning has been indefinitely suspended for a violation of team rules, Saban announced Wednesday.

Fanning’s suspension marks the fifth announced suspension since fall camp began in August.

“I guess guys haven’t learned their lesson,” Mosley said. “We have a few guys that had some disciplinary action at the beginning of the season and offseason, so if you mess up you got to suspend guys. I hate it happened for him, but sometimes you got to learn from your mistakes.”

Fanning, who has played sparingly as a reserve this season, has been absent at practice since Tuesday.

“There’s a lot of guys that do the right things,” Kouandjio said. “There’s 100 kids, here and there you’re going to have problems here and there. It’s impossible not to have problems, but out of those 100 kids, 95, 96, 97 are doing what we’re supposed to, so I don’t think that’s a problem. I think a majority of us know what we’re supposed to do, and we’re doing things right.”