DeAndre Hopkins Defends Clemson's Dabo Swinney amid Racism Allegations

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2020

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney congratulates DeAndre Hopkins (6) following Hopkins' touchdown against Duke during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins defended Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney in a Twitter post Wednesday.

Hopkins, who played for the Tigers from 2010 through 2012, said Swinney isn't a racist and helped him "become a man" during his time in college:

Deandre Hopkins @DeAndreHopkins

One thing I do know Coach Swinney has never been a racist or had any ill will towards any player. Best coach I’ve ever been around from a football perspective and personal perspective. He helped me become a man and grow from being a kid from Central South Carolina.

Swinney has faced questions about his response to a 2017 practice incident between former Clemson tight end D.J. Greenlee and assistant coach Danny Pearman.

Last week, Greenlee told Matt Connolly of The State that Pearman repeated a racial slur he'd used during a conversation with fellow tight end Milan Richard about a practice mistake.

"[Milan] was asking me what happened. 'What's coach getting on to you about?'" Greenlee said. "I was just like, 'Man, I got the [N-word] that came in my gap.' I was talking to my teammate. That was all that was said. Then the next thing you know coach Pearman starts coming over there. He was repeating what I just said. He's like, '[N-word] this, [N-word] that. The [N-word] wasn't there.'"

He added: "He wasn't saying that I was a N-word."

Pearman apologized for the incident, and Swinney commented on allegations he didn't respond to the issue seriously enough when it first occurred as part of video statement last week:

"I would fire a coach immediately if he called a player an N-word. No questions asked. That did not happen. Absolutely did not happen. It has not happened. Coach Pearman was correcting D.J., and another player was talking to D.J., or D.J. was yelling at the player, and D.J. said something he probably shouldn't have said. He said, 'I blocked the wrong f--king N-word,' and Coach Pearman thought he was saying it to him, and he's mad, and he reacted, and in correcting him, he repeated the phrase.

"And [Pearman] said, 'We don't say we blocked the wrong f--king N-word.' And he repeated it. He shouldn't have done that. There's no excuse for even saying that. But there is a big difference. He did not call someone an N-word."

Meanwhile, Hopkins and fellow Clemson alum Deshaun Watson have petitioned the school to remove the name of slave owner John C. Calhoun from buildings. Hopkins commented on the situation on Instagram:

"As we watch everything happening in the world, I want to bring up something that has been bothering me for a long time in my community. Clemson University still honors the name of well known slave owner and pro-slavery politician John C. Calhoun on its buildings, signs and in the name of its honors program. I felt this oppressive figure during my time at Clemson and purposely do not mention the University's name before NFL games because of it. I am joining the voices of the students and faculty who have restarted this petition to rename the Calhoun Honors College. I urge all Clemson students, football players, and alumni to join us, so the next generation of young Black leaders can be proud of the institution they graduate from. Now is the time for change."

The comments come amid worldwide protests against racial injustice and police brutality after George Floyd was killed while in Minneapolis Police custody May 25.

Hopkins and Watson were teammates with the Houston Texans for the past three seasons prior to the receiver's trade to the Cardinals in March.


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