Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney spoke to the media for nearly 40 minutes Monday afternoon, as he spoke on a wide range of topics. The most important one, however, was on the death of George Floyd, who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer and the subsequent riots that have followed across the United States as a result of the horrific murder.
Swinney opened the Zoom conference call with the media with an eight-minute statement on the Floyd homicide, saying he did not put out a statement or speak any earlier because he wanted to listen first.
“It is better to listen than speak,” he said. “It is not about trying to speak first or something like that … I have spent the last week listening.”
On Monday, Swinney spoke.
Below is Swinney’s eight-minute opening statement on George Floyd’s death and all that has followed since May 25.
“I know we are all hurting for the Floyd Family, and our country. I can speak for our entire staff and our team in that regard for sure. We have all witnessed just disgusting acts of evil. That is really the only word I can appropriately use over the past recent week here and beyond. But for me to really be able to address it, everything to me goes back to my faith. That is where I get my peace from, that is where I draw my hope from, that is where I draw my perspective from. I am glad I don’t have social media because my reaction would have been to jump on social media and probably say things I should not say and regret. I am glad I don’t have that.
“What I know, as I approach everything from a perspective of faith, is that where there are people, there is going to be hate. There is going to be racism, greed, jealousy, crime and so on because we live in a sinful and fallen world. We had so much bad news. Everywhere you turn, there is bad news.
“But really today, I just want to take a moment and offer some good news. For me, the good news is that we have a Lord that loves us all and has conquered already. We all have a choice as to how we think. How we love, how respond and how we forgive. There is no question that these are challenging times. But what I have learned is where there is no challenge, there is no change. We have to accept the challenge and help to bring about positive change and growth. And, as I have talked to our staff this morning, the soil is fertile. And the seeds of this soil have changed, if you will, our love, our respect, our attitude, kindness, humility, service, faith and forgiveness.
“You know what? Forgiveness is always the hardest. Forgiveness is something I struggled with in my life, in my teens and early 20s and eventually, I was the one being hurt because that forgiveness just eats at you. If you take that word faith, and I can thank Todd Bates for this, and you make it into an acronym, ‘Forgiveness Always Is The Hardest.’ And it is. But love, respect, attitude, kindness, humility, service, faith and forgiveness, these are the choices that we control. We do control those choices. There are three truths right now for sure and for this time. This is another thing Coach Bates and I were talking about, and I agree, love does not see color. Hate does. Hatred has no heart. Love does.
“As a football team, and people in general, we have to stick together, we have to respect each other, and we have to respect the differences that do exist. For me, my focus is this team and this staff. And my prayer, is that good will continue, as it has for the last eleven and a half years. That good will continue to used by our program at Clemson to develop, to shape, to equip, to educate and to raise up great men through the game of football that are going to go on into this world as great leaders and create wonderful change and bring love and wisdom to our country. That is my passion, that’s our why and that is my focus?
“One of the things I always tell our team, and they have heard me say many, many times in regard to football, is there is no hope for a better yesterday. There is no hope for a better last week. There is no hope for a better last year. There just isn’t. One of the verses in the Bible that I have always hung on to for a long, long time, has always comforted me when I needed it, is Jeremiah 29:11. That verse says, ‘For I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good, not disaster.’ Plans to give you a future and a hope. ‘For I know the plans I have for you. Plans for good, not disaster.’ Plans to give you a future and a hope.
“While there may be no hope for a better yesterday, there is hope in the future and when there is hope in the future, there is power in the present. And that power, for me, comes from my faith. Comes from my strength and the peace of knowing that Jesus is on the throne. That is really all I can say. That is the only thing I can offer is my perspective of faith and hope that can be an encouragement.
“Our team is hurting. I communicated with them last week and our staff is amazing. We absolutely must come together. So, I wanted to just share that and take a minute and let you just hear that from me and make sure I articulated that the right way.”
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