Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has confronted his critics in a 14-minute video, in which he addresses his handling of the use of the N-word in his program, and the recent claims that he belittled the Black Lives Matter movement by wearing a shirt that said, “Football Matters.”
The video was posted on Clemson’s athletic department website.
“Anybody who has been in our program, they know that there are two words that I don’t want to hear,” Swinney said. “There are two in particular that I will absolutely call you out on. One is the n-word and the other is GD. I would fire a coach immediately if he called a player an n-word. No questions asked. That did not happen. Absolutely did not happen.”
“Then assistant coach Danny Pearman was accused by former Tigers player Kanyon Tuttle on Twitter of using a racial slur during a 2017 practice, the New York Post reports. “Swinney said the story was not in the proper context. He said Pearman was giving tight end DJ Greenlee instruction during a drill that was not in the front of the whole team and that after being corrected, the player said something he should not have and Pearman was reacting to it.”
As Swinney explains in the video:
“[Greenlee] said, ‘I blocked the wrong f’in n-word’ and coach Pearman thought he was saying it to him and he’s mad and he reacted and he in correcting him repeated the same phase. He said, ‘We don’t say we blocked the wrong f’in n-word’ and he repeated it and he shouldn’t have done that,” Swinney said. “There is no excuse for saying that, it doesn’t matter what the context is. But there is a big difference. He did not call someone an n-word.”
As for the recent images of Swinney wearing a “Football Matters” shirt, Swinney reaffirmed his support for Black Lives Matter while saying he was given the shirt at a National Football Foundation in 2014.
“I wholeheartedly support Black Lives Matter,” Swinney said. “In fact, I don’t quite think that’s adequate enough. I think black lives significantly and equally matter. To me, Black Lives Matter is just like, ‘hey we matter, too.’ I think black lives significantly and equally matter.”
Swinney also shot down allegations that he attempted to prevent his players from participating in a sit-in.
The coach said it wasn’t his intention to block the players from attending the sit-in. Instead, given the high-visibility of Clemson football, he only wanted the players to “know what you’re signing up for.” Swinney then said he told his team that they needed “to be prepared to be on the news and on ESPN and so forth because of who you are.”
Swinney has amassed 116 wins in his 11 seasons (ten full seasons) at Clemson. He has also wan two national championships with the Tigers.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn