Clemson's Dabo Swinney Supports BLM but Not Adding Messages to Uniforms

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2020

FILE - In this June 13, 2020, file photo, Clemson NCAA college football head coach Dabo Swinney speaks during a protest over the death of George Floyd in Clemson, S.C. Swinney does not support messages of social justice or other issues on player uniforms. Swinney said Tuesday, Sept. 29, 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. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney said Tuesday that he believes Black lives matter but is not in favor of players putting social justice messages on their uniforms or helmets. 

"It's not that I'm not for the messages, but I'm a very traditional guy," Swinney said, per The Athletic's Grace Raynor. "I came from Alabama. It's not anything to do with the messages, I've always just not messed with uniforms. But that's all changed this year."

He also said that "anyone who doesn't believe Black lives matter, you should look into your soul," per David Hale of ESPN, but added that he was "apolitical":

"I'm on board with a lot of the messages, but I'm not on board with political organizations. That's a different question. I'm apolitical. To me, that's divisive. I've voted Democrat, Republican, independent, I've written in people when I didn't like anyone running. I'm apolitical when it comes to organizations. I don't support organizations, I support common-sense causes."

On his radio show Monday night, Swinney said he supports his players' right to free speech, per Hale:

"For our football team, this is America and everybody has the right to free speech. I don't judge somebody because they don't think the way I think. I think that is one of the issues that we have. We don't have any tolerance or respect for differences of opinion, different views anymore. There is no one around here that supports a senseless death of any kind; racism, anything that is against the police or police brutality. Nobody supports those things."

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The NCAA announced in July that college football players would be allowed to put social justice messages on their uniforms. The NBA and WNBA allowed their players to do the same in their respective bubble environments amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

NFL players also wore a T-shirt on the field before Week 1 games that read "Injustice against one of us is injustice against all of us" on the front and "End racism" on the back. Houston Texans defensive back Michael Thomas helped design the shirts.