Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has never been one to shy away from giving his opinion when asked. And when he was asked about Colin Kaepernick’s right not to stand during the National Anthem in protest to racial injustice and police brutality on Tuesday, Swinney gave his opinion.
The question, would he discipline one of his players if he would not stand for the national anthem?
It’s a situation that realistically Swinney will not have to worry about. Clemson, and most college teams, are still in the locker room when the National Anthem is being performed. However, Swinney said he would not discipline a player for that if they are protesting something, but he doesn’t agree with the method.
“I think everyone has a right to express themselves in that regard. But, I don’t think it is good to be a distraction to your team. I don’t think it is good to use the team as the platform. I totally disagree with that,” the Clemson coach said during his weekly press conference on Tuesday.
Swinney said he does not think two wrongs make a right.
“I just think it creates more division,” Swinney said.
Swinney said Kaepernick would be better off to call a press conference and express his feelings there.
“Express yourself. Go be a part of things and protest them. That is great,” Swinney said. “Everybody has that right and I appreciate that. But, I just think this just creates more division. That’s what I hate to see.”
Swinney definitely took exception to it because his brother, Tracy, is a retired police officer who worked the night shift for 30 years.
“There are a lot of good police officers. Thousands of perfect traffic stops. There are a lot of good men and there are a lot of good women, but those don’t get the stories,” Swinney said. “There are some bad ones, too. There are some criminals. Guess what, there are some criminals that work in the media. There are some criminals that are football coaches. There are some criminals that are politicians. There are criminals that work in churches.
“I think we have a sin problem in the world. That is what I think. It is so easy to say we have a race problem. No we have a sin problem. That’s my opinion. That’s Dabo’s opinion.”
Swinney believes the answers to all of the world’s problems are exactly what Martin Luther King, Jr. began fighting more than a half-century ago.
“They are exactly what they were for Martin Luther King when he changed the world … Love, peace, education, tolerance of others and Jesus,” the Clemson coach said. “I hate to see what is going on in our country. I really do because I think this is a good world. This is a great country. Things get painted with a broad brush in the world these days. There is a lot of good. There is more good than bad in this world. I think one of the greatest leaders this world has ever seen was Martin Luther King.
“I don’t know if there has ever been a better man or a better leader. To me, he changed the world through love in the face of hate. He changed the world through peace in the face of violence, he changed the world through education in the face of ignorance, and he changed the world through Jesus.
“Boy! That is critically incorrect. That’s what he did.”
Swinney, who did not get one question about Saturday’s game against S.C. State, went onto say he is amazed how we, as a society, still repeat our mistakes.
“The Bible says, the two greatest commandments, if we all lived by those a lot of the problems would go away. It says love the Lord with all your heart, all your mind and all of your soul. And the second one is love your neighbor as you love yourself,” Swinney said. “It does not say love your neighbor for the same religion. It does not say love your neighbor if they are the same color as you. It does not say love your neighbor if they pull for the same team as you. It doesn’t say love your neighbor if they are the same gender as you or whatever. It does not say love your neighbor if they have the same sexuality as you. It just says love your neighbor as you love yourself.
“If we all live by that in this country, we would not have the problems that we have. That is just my opinion. I never felt like two wrongs make a right. All though (Kaepernick’s) intentions are good, I just think the method isn’t right. That’s my opinion and I’m entitled to that just like everyone else.”