During his weekly press conference Tuesday, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney took on what he called the “thumb gangsters” who are all over the place on the internet and social media these days.
Swinney’s comment was in response to a question about how star quarterback Trevor Lawrence has handled the attention and, in some cases, criticism that came along with his outspokenness in the “We Want To Play” movement in August to ensure that college football would be played in 2020, as well as the role Lawrence played along with some of his teammates in organizing the Clemson Community Peaceful Demonstration on campus in June.
Swinney understands the position Lawrence is in with his vast platform and the spotlight that is on him as the face of college football, having dealt with his own share of criticism at times on various issues over his 12 years as the Tigers’ head coach.
“He’s great,” Swinney said of Lawrence. “He’s got thick skin, and if you’re going to be a football coach at any level – certainly at this level – and if you’re going to be a quarterback at this level or the NFL, you better have some thick skin. We live in a world with a bunch of thumb gangsters. Everybody just attacks you every day, all day. And nobody has to have the facts anymore, it’s just what kind of headline can we get.
“So, you can either handle that or you can’t. You either let that determine your quality of life, or you draw on something else to determine the quality of your life. And that’s what he does.”
Swinney complimented Lawrence for always staying grounded in his faith, being comfortable with who he is as a person and standing for what he believes in, no matter what people think of him or whether or not they see eye to eye with him.
“He’s strong in his faith. He knows who he is,” Swinney said. “He’s not trying to be right. He’s not trying to make other people wrong. He is who he is, and if you don’t like that, that’s your opinion, that’s great, doesn’t make you bad. But he’s going to be who he is, and they love him for that.
“He’s authentic, he’s genuine. He’s not afraid to disagree, even though it might make the thumb gangsters mad at him. He doesn’t care. He knows who he is, he’s grounded in that, and he’s going to show up, go to work, be the same guy every single day, regardless of if there’s a lot of praise or a lot of criticism. He’s got great confidence and humility that way.”
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