Dabo Swinney apologized to team for Kaepernick comments

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney apologized to his team for being a distraction after comments he made regarding Colin Kaepernick and Martin Luther King Jr. last week drew widespread backlash.

Linebacker Dorian O'Daniel told reporters Tuesday that Swinney apologized the day after he made his remarks.

"A lot of guys appreciated the apology, even though we weren't looking for it," O'Daniel said, according to The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C. "We know Coach Swinney not only as a coach, but a man. I think people took what he said out of context. People who had something to say about it don't know him like we know him."

During his weekly news conference last Tuesday, Swinney was asked to comment about Kaepernick not standing during the national anthem.

"I think everybody has the right to express himself in that regard," Swinney said. "But I don't think it's good to be a distraction to your team. 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."

Swinney went on to discuss King, saying, "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 that 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."

His comments drew widespread criticism from national media, former Clemson star receiver DeAndre Hopkins and Clemson professor Chenjerai Kumanyika, who penned an open letter to the head coach that was titled, "Take MLK's name out your mouth."

Swinney was not asked about his comments Tuesday, but he addressed them last Wednesday after practice.

"Any time you make statements, people are going to agree with them or not agree with them, and sometimes people attack you," Swinney said. "I'm certainly not an attacking person. The people who know who I am know exactly what I meant. I didn't mean anything negative."