Swin­ney doesn’t like mes­sages on player uni­forms

The Charlotte Observer - - SPORTS - BY PETE IA­CO­BELLI

Clem­son coach Dabo Swin­ney does not sup­port mes­sages of so­cial jus­tice or other is­sues on player uni­forms.

Swin­ney said Tues­day his stance is solely be­cause he’s a col­lege foot­ball tra­di­tion­al­ist who val­ues the his­toric look of jer­seys, not be­cause he dis­agrees with ef­forts to com­bat so­cial in­jus­tice.

“It’s not any­thing to do with the mes­sages or what­ever,” he said. “It’s just, I’ve al­ways not messed with uni­forms. It’s al­ways been my deal. But that’s all changed this year.”

The NBA and other other sport­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions around the world have added al­lowed play­ers to add mes­sages to jer­seys.

Swin­ney and the Tigers have spoke out against so­cial in­jus­tice, march­ing in June fol­low­ing the killing of Ge­orge Floyd by a Min­neapo­lis po­lice of­fi­cer.

The Tigers have worn hel­met stick­ers this sea­son with var­i­ous mes­sages, in­clud­ing “Black Lives

Mat­ter,” “Love,” “Put a Stop to Racism,” and “Equal­ity.” Clem­son’s home field in­cluded the words “Equal­ity” and “Unity” at its opener against The Ci­tadel two weeks ago and play­ers, coaches and staff locked arms in a line on the side­line after the first quar­ter in sup­port of so­cial jus­tice.

Some on so­cial me­dia came out against Clem­son’s ef­forts, crit­i­ciz­ing the team’s ac­tions. Swin­ney de­fended the team ear­lier this month, say­ing not every­one will agree. The mes­sages on play­ers’ hel­mets and on the field with con­tinue.

“Hope­fully, peo­ple can re­spect our young men and what they believe in and what their dif­fer­ent causes are,” he said after the stick­ers de­buted against Wake For­est on Sept. 12.

Swin­ney’s pol­icy has long been keep­ing tra­di­tional uni­form styles since get­ting the job in the mid­dle of the 2008 sea­son.

Swin­ney re­called when the Crim­son Tide added a Nike logo to their uni­forms, say­ing “and you would’ve thought the world was com­ing to an end.”

JOHN BAZE­MORE AP

Clem­son coach Dabo Swin­ney speaks dur­ing a protest over the death of Ge­orge Floyd in June. Swin­ney does not sup­port mes­sages of so­cial jus­tice on uni­forms.

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