Clemson’s Dabo Swinney shares encouraging message of support for Black Lives Matter protests

Dabo Swinney is using his platform to speak out.

The Clemson head coach, who recently came under fire for his wardrobe which some thought was mocking the Black Lives Matter movement, spoke to protesters gathered at Clemson’s campus over the weekend.

This is beautiful, and I just appreciate everyone supporting this community today. Clemson is a special place, and we saw again what that is today. This is a historic time and a challenging time, but as I tell my team all the time, challenge is what creates change.

I believe with all my heart that God stopped the world in 2020, so we could have perfect vision and clearly see the social and racial injustice and the changes that need to occur in our society.

Nobody — nobody — should feel less or be treated as less because of the color of their skin. God loves every one of us the same. Black lives more than matter — black lives significantly matter and equally matter. And for far too long, that has not been the case for the black community.

Now is the time to push for equal justice and no longer tolerate police brutality or racism of any kind in this country. But as you saw today, and moving forward, it has to be everyone’s responsibility, not just some people’s responsibility, it has to be everyone’s responsibility, to be more aware, to learn more and to speak out against racial inequality.

Swinney is the second big name from Clemson to speak out on racial injustices and civil unrest, joining quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who sided with his “brothers that continuously deal with issues he’ll never experience.”

Clemson has become a focal point for the Black Lives Matter movement and the national discussion about racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd in police custody. The campus features several halls and statues honoring racist figures in U.S. history, prompting calls for their removal from protesters and high-profile alumni like Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins. 

Clemson last week said it will rename its Calhoun Honors College to distance itself from John C. Calhoun, a former U.S. vice president and supporter of slavery in the 1800s. University officials have also petitioned South Carolina lawmakers to rename Tillman Hall, named for Ben Tillman, the former state governor and senator known for his segregationist politics.

Swinney had been criticized for not joining Watson, Hopkins and his current players in calls for changes at Clemson. On June 8, Swinney put out a statement through Clemson in response to Floyd’s killing that was criticized for not outlining specifics when it came to how exactly he was helping to fight racial injustice.

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