Earlier Tuesday afternoon, a Clemson football player recounted an alleged incident with an assistant coach on the team.
Former Clemson tight end D.J. Greenlee opened up about an incident involving Tigers assistant Danny Pearman. Greenlee and Pearman engaged in an argument, where the coach used the n-word.
“It was just a heated argument during practice, basically,” D.J. Greenlee told The State of the incident. “Me and the coach got into it and I was speaking with one of my teammates.”
Greenlee tried to provide some clarity on the incident. “He heard me use the n-word basically, and basically tried to correct me by saying the n-word back.”
The story quickly went viral. In the hours that followed, other Clemson players reacted to the news. On Tuesday night, Pearman himself finally released a statement about the incident.
He confirmed the interaction took place, but clarified that he wasn’t directing the n-word at a player. Here’s his statement, via The State:
“Three years ago on the practice field, I made a grave mistake involving D.J. Greenlee. I repeated a racial slur I overheard when trying to stop the word from being used on the practice field. What I overheard, I had no right to repeat.
While I did not direct the term at any player, I know there is no excuse for me using the language in any circumstance. I never should have repeated the phrase. It was wrong when I said it, and it is wrong today.
I apologized to D.J. at the conclusion of practice, who then appropriately raised his concern to Coach Swinney. Coach and I met to discuss the incident, and he reiterated that my language was unacceptable. I later apologized again as well as expressed my sincere regret to our position group the following day.
I love the young men who choose to come to our university, and I would never do anything to intentionally hurt them. I sincerely apologize to D.J., his family, our team and our staff.”
Pearman played at Clemson from 1985-87, and has been on staff under Swinney since 2009. He currently holds the title of assistant head coach, while also coaching tight ends and special teams.
Dabo Swinney hasn’t addressed the alleged incident or Pearman’s subsequent statement confirming the altercation.