Attempting to end some of the controversy that popped up around his program over the last week, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney released a 14-minute video Monday saying he supports the Black Lives Matter movement and defending how he dealt with assistant Danny Pearman, who uttered a racial slur during a practice in 2017.
In his first public acknowledgement of the incident, Swinney said he would "fire a coach immediately" if he called a player the "N-word" but said that is not what happened and that the context of the incident with former Clemson tight end D.J. Greenlee was crucial to how it was handled.
Swinney said he has made it known to players he does not like hearing the N-word used by anyone in his program and that Pearman was trying to correct Greenlee when he repeated it during a drill.
"He shouldn’t have done that. There’s no excuse for saying it, doesn’t matter what the context is, but there is a big difference," Swinney said. "He didn’t call someone an N-word. There’s a lot of things I don’t allow in our program, but when things happen we deal with it. Sometimes it’s in private, sometimes it’s in public. In this case the player came to me in private and we handled it in private."
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The incident came to light last week as a result of former Clemson player Kanyon Tuttle, who said on Twitter that he was upset that it was never addressed with the team at the time. Tuttle had been critical of Swinney’s comments about race and the national response to the killing of George Floyd during a press conference last Monday, which addressed racism as more of a general moral issue rather than a specific, systemic problem that the United States was grappling with.
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