Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson has some fun with an official during Alabama's win over Memphis. Photo by Robert Sutton

Robert Sutton/University of Alabama

Thank you, Avery Johnson, for coming up with the more powerful words.

Thank you, University of Alabama, for overcoming ugly action with appropriate reaction.

And thank you, Harley Barber. We’ll give you credit for what we assume was a heartfelt apology.

Johnson and his employer deserve credit for not letting Barber’s viral video, laced with racial slurs, linger. The reaction, including Barber’s expulsion, was a swift and opposite reaction.

Johnson had the last words, words that ring out much more powerfully than n----, n----, n----. The words Alabama’s men’s basketball coach left is with in this whole, sad incident were appropriate and more powerful.

Barber’s video was, indeed, “vile and abhorrent.”

Johnson concluded a postgame news conference following a victory over rival Auburn to say so, and good on him for taking it head on instead of steering clear of it.

As for Barber, we can’t know with certainty the connection between her words and heart. If there was connection, here’s hoping the lesson learned means a heart changed.

In case anyone needs reminding, so many years after an Alabama governor stood at the schoolhouse door, bigotry was vile and abhorrent then, is vile and abhorrent now and will be vile and abhorrent forever.

Sports Writer Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter: @jmedley_star.