Support for Dabo Swinney
By: Darby Childress and Makenna Biehl
In the current era of cries for social justice and equality, following the death of George Floyd, many public figures are being put on display with the expectation to be above human, and perfect in every way, shape, and form, or risk being publicly shamed. This was the case with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney following the publication of the viral thread of tweets by DJ Greenlee stating that assistant coach, Danny Pearman used a racial slur during a practice. Following this, Dabo came out with a statement, posted through Clemson football’s Twitter account stating that “We are all hurting for the Floyd family and our country. I can speak for our entire staff and our team in that regard. We have all witnessed disgusting acts of evil – that’s really the only word I can appropriately use – over the past week here and beyond. To address it for me, everything for me goes back to my faith. That’s where I draw my peace from, that’s where I draw my hope from … What I know, as I approach everything from a perspective of faith, is that where there are people, there’s gonna be hate, there’s gonna be racism and greed and jealousy and crime and so on because we live in a sinful, fallen world. We’ve had so much bad news … but really today, I just wanted to take a moment and offer some good news. For me, the good news is we have a Lord that loves us all … Love doesn’t see color – hate does.”
Since that story came out, Dabo has been attacked with an onslaught of accusations stating that he is racist, and/or ignorant to what is happening across the nation, such as Jay Bilas with ESPN stating that what is happening with Dabo now “isn’t about a person’s heart or intentions. This is about accountability, no excuses, no rationalizing, and showing sensitivity, awareness, empathy, and contrition. That was lacking in the 14-minute statement.”, following Dabo’s statement on what happened with Danny Pearman and how it was handled, as well as him speaking out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
With this attack on the head coach coming out, many current and former Clemson athletes have reached out in support of their coach. Current starting quarterback Trevor Lawerence went to Twitter to say- “ Coach Swinney’s shirt, in any way, is not mocking the Black Lives Matter movement. He has been wearing the shirt for months in meetings.”, in regards to people saying that a shirt that Dabo was wearing, that said “Football Matters”, as “mocking” the current Black Lives Matter movement. Dabo has since come out and said “It’s a shirt I’ve had for a couple of years. It’s given to pretty much every coach by the National Football Foundation … That’s been their promotional thing, I think, since all the way back in 2014. And I would just say any insinuation that I was trying to mock the Black Lives Matter movement, it is just an attack on my character … and really sad. But I also will say, I wholeheartedly support Black Lives Matter. In fact, I don’t quite think that’s adequate enough – I think black lives significantly and equally matter … God loves us all. None of us are better than anybody else. It doesn’t matter what the color of our skin is.”
Current Miami Dolphin and former Clemson athlete Christian Wilkins posted a video, on Twitter, in support of his former coach, stating- “I feel like people are really just trying to really paint a negative picture of Coach Swinney, in a lot of ways, and that’s just not who he is at all”. As well as stating- ‘granted he may not have said all the right things,” in Dabo’s fourteen-minute
video, “that shows where someone like me can be a help to Coach Swinney, as someone who is close to him, and someone who loves him, can continue to help him and educate him.”
Deandre Hopkins also shared his support in a tweet stating “One thing I do know Coach Swinney has never been a racist or had any ill will towards any player. Best coach I’ve ever been around from a football perspective and personal perspective. He helped me become a man and grow from being a kid from Central South Carolina.”
Incoming freshman Sergio Allen also said “In the short amount of time I’ve been here Coach Swinney has taught me many life lessons and cared for us all like his own. I wouldn’t want to be coached by any other person! He and his wife have some of the best hearts on this Earth..”
It has been more than just people who have been coached by Dabo, Clemson basketball star Aamir Simms posted “Y’all get off Dabo man. At this point, y’all just trying to fill headlines and that’s sad.”
Almost anyone who has some form of a relationship with Dabo believes that he is a kindhearted man of faith, who wants what is best for his players. The Clemson Football team will be joining the march for change this Saturday at 6 o’clock at Bowman Field, in Clemson, South Carolina, in support of this cause.