Clemson coach says he is never going to politicize his role on the team
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney set the record straight about the Tigers’ trip to the White House last month when he addressed the media Wednesday as a part of National Signing Day.
“I know there were some stories that some people did not go,” he said. “Everybody had an opportunity to go if they wanted to go and if they did not want to go, they did not have to go.”
Swinney was referring to a couple of stories that came out last week reporting why some players chose not to make the trip to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 14.
“I am on record. I don’t care who the President is or isn’t. If we win the national championship, and I get invited, I am going,” Swinney said. “It does not matter to me. I am never going to politicize with my role on the team. I think it is a great honor to be invited to the White House.”
The Clemson coach said it was the first real trip where he got to see Washington, D.C., like he never has before. He spoke about the Tigers’ visit to the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, while seeing it all in the snow.
“It was amazing. I had never seen DC like that and the snow like that,” he said. “It was an unbelievable experience.”
The reason Clemson visited the White House so fast had nothing to do with President Donald Trump and everything to do with Clemson. Swinney explained that Monday, which was a week after the Tigers won the national championship, was the only day that worked with it not affecting the majority of the team.
“We were not going to do it in April, May or June. That was a nightmare (last time),” Swinney said. “They wanted to do it in February and that was not going to work at all for anybody or any of our seniors. So, we went back and forth and really that Monday was the only day that was the best time for us.
“We had a lot of seniors that already had their flights and different things (booked), so it was a little bit of a different challenge for them. But everybody had an opportunity to go that wanted to go.”
Swinney said it was cool watching Marine One land right in front of them while they waited for the President on the East Wing of the White House. He said the Tigers had the whole wing of the house to themselves, which he described as amazing.
Later, President Trump invited the entire team into the Oval Office.
“I never been a part of that either. It was a lot of fun. We had a great time,” Swinney said.
“Fifty years from now there will be a President and half the country will hate him or her,” he continued. “That is probably a fact. I don’t know if I will be hear fifty years from now. Let’s just say that hopefully we will win another (national championship) sometime down the road and I get a chance to go back. I love that opportunity, what a cool experience.”
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