Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney on national anthem protests: ‘Some of these people need to move to another country’

Dabo Swinney

Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney was asked about Colin Kaepernick and whether he would discipline his players if they didn’t stand for the national anthem. What followed was an 8-minute speech on what he believes is an overreaction by the players and a divisive stance.

The speech, which is being described by Aaron Brenner of The Post and Courier as a “sermon,” came during Swinney’s weekly press conference.

He started by saying that he wouldn’t discipline any players for not standing (college football games generally perform the anthem prior to the players taking the field). However, he added that a move like that is bad for the team, saying it would be a “distraction.”

Swinney then started talking about Kaepernick, saying he “totally disagrees” with how Kaepernick is protesting, and noted that “two wrongs don’t make a right.” 

“I just think there is a right way to do things, and I don’t think two wrong make a right,” Swinney said. “I think it just creates more divisiveness, more division.”

But then the speech took a weird turn.

Despite Swinney earlier saying that he is not disagreeing with Kaepernick’s protest, just the manner in which he is protesting, Swinney went on to strongly suggest that this country is not that bad for black people and that people like Kaepernick should just leave the United States.

 “I hate to see what’s going on in our country. I really do. Because 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 … I think a lot of the things in this world, not everything is so bad. ‘This world is falling apart.’ Some of these people need to move to another country. Some of them need to move to another country.”

Swinney never came out and said who “them” is. However, he preceded that comment and then immediately followed that comment by talking about Martin Luther King Jr. and the history of oppression of black people in the United States.

Swinney praised Martin Luther King Jr. and all the change he helped produce, but then noted that black people today have a lot of great things that were “just a dream” for King.

“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? That was a dream for Martin Luther King. [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.”

For Swinney, the problems in this country are not about social injustice (“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.”) and not about race, but rather the problems are just about sinning.

“I think we have a sin problem in the world,” Swinney said. “It’s so easy to say we have a race problem, but we got a sin problem.”

Clemson University did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

You can see the full speech here:


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