Clemson football players held a march and demonstration around the school's campus this evening. Dabo Swinney is in attendance, and spoke to those on hand about his own experiences over the last few weeks.
Swinney has been under some significant fire off and on over the last few weeks. He wasn't as active in publicly supporting his players early on during the nationwide protests, and had some significant gaffes in statements during that time. He has been trying to move forward in his handling of the situation.
At Clemson, the protests both reflect those occurring nationally, but have specific goals around campus as well, some of which have been met. Former Tiger great Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins both signed on with a petition to remove the name of John C. Calhoun, a former slave owner and pro-slavery politician, from campus buildings and school programs. That petition has been successful.
Swinney acknowledges that he wasn't totally aware of some of the history of the school. He spoke at tonight's player-led protest, and says that his work to educate himself continues. He also thanked Watson and Hopkins for throwing their significant influence behind the campaign.
“We have to find a way to unify and to bring people together," Swinney added, per Grace Raynor of The Athletic. "And to do that, we must spread love and respect, kindness, forgiveness and grace.”
Per reports, around 3,000 people attended the protest, including some former players like Isaiah Simmons, who returned to campus for the event.
A few weeks ago, whether Dabo Swinney would attend the protest was a legitimate question. It is good that things have progressed so much that he spoke at it, and openly admitted how much he has yet to learn.