Ala. native, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney: To change the world, love in the face of hate
Buckle up, because Dabo Swinney is ready to weigh in on the current state of American culture.
The Pelham, Alabama, native who played wide receiver for the Crimson Tide in the early nineties before also coaching at UA, is now the head coach of the No. 2 ranked Clemson Tigers.
Swinney had not been asked about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem protest — a hot water cooler topic for the last several weeks — until Tuesday, and according to the Post-Courier, he was ready with a “986-word sermon.”
“I think everybody has the right to express himself in that regard. But I don’t think it’s good to be a distraction to your team,” he said. “I don’t think it’s good to use the team as a platform. I totally disagree with that. Not his protest. But I just think there’s a right way to do things. I don’t think two wrongs make a right. Never have, never will. I think it just creates more divisiveness, more division.
“I think there’s a better way,” he continued. “How about call a press conference? Express your feelings. Everybody will show up, talk about it. Go and be a part of things, and protest them. That’s great. I think everybody has that right. I certainly respect that. But I just think this just creates more division. That’s what I hate to see.”
From there, Swinney launched into a broader soliloquy on the rising tensions across the United States.
“I hate to see what’s going on in our country. I really do. I think this is a good world. I think this is a great country. It’s just that things get painted with a broad brush in this world these days.
“There’s more good than bad in this world. With Martin Luther King — I don’t know if there’s ever been a better man or better leader. To me, he changed the world. He changed the world through love in the face of hate. He changed the world through peace in the face of violence. He changed the world through education in the face of ignorance. And he changed the world through Jesus. Boy, that’s politically incorrect. That’s what he did. It’s amazing when we don’t learn from our past how you can repeat your mistakes.”
Swinney, a vocal Christian, then referenced Matthew 22, when Jesus was asked which Biblical commandments were the most important.
“It says, Love the Lord with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul,” he said. “The second one is, love your neighbor as you’d love yourself. It doesn’t say love your neighbor from the same religion. It doesn’t say love your neighbor if they’re the same color as you. It doesn’t say love your neighbor if they pull for the same team as you. It doesn’t say love your neighbor if they’re the same gender as you, or whatever. (It doesn’t say) love your neighbor if they have the same sexuality as you. It just says, love your neighbor as you’d love yourself. If we all lived by that in this country, we wouldn’t have near the problems we have.”
Swinney also weighed in on the racial tension between African-Americans and the police. His brother, Tracy, is a retired police officer who worked on the force for 30 years.
“There are a lot of good police officers. There are thousands of perfect traffic stops. A lot of good men. A lot of good women. But those don’t get the stories,” he bemoaned. “There’s some criminals that wear badges. Guess what? There’s some criminals that work in the media. There’s some criminals that are football coaches. There’s some criminals that are politicians. There are criminals that work in churches. It’s so easy to say we have a race problem, but we got a sin problem. It’s just my opinion. That’s Dabo’s opinion.”
To divisive political and social activists who disparage the United States, Swinney suggested “some of these people need to move to another country.”
“I think the answer to our problems is exactly what they were for Martin Luther King when he changed the world. Love, peace, education, tolerance of others, Jesus,” he said. “A lot of these things in this world were only a dream for Martin Luther King. Not a one-term, but a two-term African-American president. And this is a terrible country? There are interracial marriages. I go to a church that’s an interracial church. Those were only dreams for Martin Luther King. Black head coaches. Black quarterbacks. Quarterbacks at places like Georgia and Alabama and Clemson. For Martin Luther King, that was just a dream. Black CEOs, NBA owners, you name it. Unbelievable.
“Now, (are there) still problems? Yes. Where there are people — whether they’re black, green, yellow, orange or white — there is going to be sin, greed, hate, jealousy, deceitfulness. There’s going to be that. That’s always going to be there. But attitude, work ethic, love, respect for others, that doesn’t know any color.”