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Clemson football players have Dabo Swinney’s back.

Clemson football players are defending Dabo Swinney after he was accused by a former player of using a racial slur.

Former running back Haamid Williams said via Twitter that Swinney used a racial slur when he told members of his team to turn the music off when a coach was touring the facility.

Williams tweeted: “Dabo walked into the meeting room and said, “I don’t want to walk in the locker room with guests/future coaches hearing n-word this n-word that in our house.”

This accusation was quickly debunked by members of the Clemson football team who were for that and of the current football team who defended their head coach.

The racial slur accusation came shortly after it was revealed that Clemson assistant coach Danny Pearman was accused of using the n-word at former tight end D.J. Greenlee during the 2017 season.

“Three years ago on the practice field, I made a grave mistake involving D.J. Greenlee, Pearman said in a statement, via The State. “I repeated a racial slur I overheard when trying to stop the word from being used on the practice field. What I overheard, I had no right to repeat.

While I did not direct the term at any player, I know there is no excuse for me using the language in any circumstance. I never should have repeated the phrase. It was wrong when I said it, and it is wrong today.

I apologized to D.J. at the conclusion of practice, who then appropriately raised his concern to Coach Swinney. Coach and I met to discuss the incident, and he reiterated that my language was unacceptable. I later apologized again as well as expressed my sincere regret to our position group the following day.”

Clemson’s Dabo Swinney under the microscope.

The incident was not made public until three years later, which makes it easy to speculate what else is Swinney keeping under wraps at Clemson.

Swinney is the highest-paid coach in college football. He is a two-time national champion and the best coach in college football, with all due respect to Nick Saban. With that comes increased attention and heightened expectations. When there

are nationwide protests after the murder of George Floyd and players are speaking up and coaches are expected to speak up and embolden their players. Swinney was criticized for waiting until last Monday to address the Floyd murder and nationwide unrest due to police brutality and systemic racism.

One of Swinney’s largest critics is ESPN’s Bomani Jones who said on Outside the Lines, “If [Dabo Swinney] can’t even deal with [race] on his team, if his only answer for black pain is to forgive, he’s doing damage to his players and a disservice to himself.”

Clemson football player Bryton Constatin took exception to the notion that Swinney is hurting his team. “He’s the most honest and humble coach in college football, he tweeted.”

But then there was an image of Swinney that circulated on social media over the weekend of the Clemson coach in a “Football Matters” t-shirt. That’s been his mantra for the program which co-opted the phrase from the National Football Foundation where the shirt can be bought. It’s a fine message but it’s incredibly tone-deaf to wear that shirt now when the Black Lives Matter movement is at the forefront.

That brought on another round of players coming to the defense of Swinney, including his star quarterback Trevor Lawrence who has been a vocal advocate of Black Lives Matter. When Quincy Avery, a popular private quarterback instructor called Swinney out, Lawrence said there’s a lot going on that people don’t know about and the whole team is unified.

Current and former Clemson players support Dabo Swinney amid racist claims

It’s okay that Swinney is not perfect. He’s worked hard to develop an image and reputation as a hard-working, over-achieving, family-oriented Christian. It’s that image and reputation that has helped built Clemson into the powerhouse college football program that it is. It’s why several of the top recruits in the nation want to play at Clemson. But as ESPN’s David Hale tweeted in a lengthy threat, Swinney isn’t under the microscope because he’s a bad guy, it’s because he’s a good guy.

This is a moment of necessary change. Swinney has embraced challenges in the past. He is the coach who famously said to “bring your own guts” after a thrilling win. It’s time for Swinney to back up what he preaches. It’s not enough to do it behind closed doors when you’re the highest-paid coach in the nation.

This is not an attack on Swinney’s character or football accolades. This is a moment for Swinney to embrace the challenge of a country in crisis. This is what leaders do.

Next: 50 best college football teams of all time

For more NCAA football news, analysis, opinion and unique coverage by FanSided, including Heisman Trophy and College Football Playoff rankings, be sure to bookmark these pages.


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