Dabo Swinney responds to critics who questioned his character

Dabo Swinney responds to critics who have questioned his character

For more than a week national analysts and fans have criticized Dabo Swinney for a number of different things pertaining to his handling of the current situation.

It all started at a press conference last Monday when Swinney was asked about his thoughts on what was currently going on in the country.

Dabo Swinney offered thoughts on how there are challenging times and that we have an opportunity to make a change for the better. He said that he approaches things from a perspective of faith and that the best way for him to make a change is to be a coach that helps develop his players off-the-field.

Many national analysts said that Swinney’s comments ‘missed the mark.’

Following that, a whole series of events occured:

  • Former Clemson Walk-On Kanyon Tuttle responded to Swinney’s comments and said that the coach allowed an Assistant Coach to call a player the n-word.
  • Former Clemson TE D.J. Greenlee revealed to The State’s Matt Connolly that he was the player involved in the incident and that the coach- Danny Pearman- wasn’t calling him the word, but rather correcting him for using it on the practice field.
  • While many expected Dabo Swinney to release a statement- as Pearman did- the coach chose to wait.
  • Following much media scrutiny, a picture of Dabo Swinney surfaced with him wearing a shirt with the words “Football Matters” on it. Many called him tone-deaf for wearing that shirt during this current climate.

Through the series of events, many former and current Clemson football players came to Swinney’s defense.

Dabo Swinney broke the silence to offer his own defense

Following constant criticism from many different media outlets, Dabo Swinney released a 14-minute video detailing what happened during the situation with Danny Pearman three years ago, how he has instructed players during past rallies on-campus, his view on the Black Lives Matter movement and speaking against social injustice.

“This is a historic time in our world and in our country, and as a coach and as a team, we will do our part to create positive change against racism of any kind, social injustice and police brutality,” Swinney said.

“I always have believed that actions are a lot louder than words, and I love our team for the actions that they have already taken with a great town hall meeting and lots of communication in our position meetings. We had a wonderful senior meeting last week with just great discussion and it was just awesome to see and hear our young men speak, and just wonderful brotherly love. We’ve got a team meeting coming up and many other things, so I’m proud of the actions that our guys have already taken.

We’re just a football program and I’m just a football coach, but Clemson has been a leader on and off the field for the past decade, and we will continue to be a leader and a light for many. We are a unified football team and we will work to unify others by how we serve, by how we play the game and by how we do our jobs as a staff.

We have always had great leadership within our program and, man, this team is no different. It has been incredible to see this brilliant group of young people lead right now, and [I’m] so proud of them. This group of leaders on this team, they are ready to lead the way to being a part of the solution for this country.

I stand with my players and I will help them any way I can to unify people and help create positive change.”

Here’s a few of the points Swinney made during the video

  • He said he would never tolerate a coach calling a player the n-word. The situation was addressed privately and he brought in Assistant AD of Football Administration Woody McCorvey to help deal with it at the time.
  • He said nothing was swept under the rug and Greenlee’s father has been on staff for nearly 20 years with Clemson football.
  • He said the accusation from Haamid Williams that he used the n-word in the locker room over music being played was “outright fabrication.” He said former Clemson TE Brandon Ford called him and said that was an absolute lie.
  • Swinney said he supports the Black Lives Matter movement and that he wasn’t trying to mock it by wearing a “Football Matters” shirt this past weekend when he was pictured.

You can view the entire video here at ClemsonTigers.com.

Swinney said the Clemson football team has had some good meetings and that he is looking forward to more team meetings in the future as he looks to empower his players to the best of his ability.