I posted yesterday about how Clemson University head football coach Dabo Swinney planned to attend a fundraiser to receive an award from the Palmetto Family Council, an anti-gay Christian group.
Among the many problems was that he would be appearing not as a private citizen but as the Clemson coach. It would also suggest that he shares the bigoted views of the Christian organization.
Looks like the pressure finally got to him. Swinney has decided to skip the fundraiser after all:
Swinney said in a statement that he has no association with the Palmetto Family Council and, after receiving considerable backlash, said he will not attend. He said he believed his attendance at the event was solely to honor his All In Foundation, whose mission “is to raise awareness and health issues in order to change lives of people across the state of South Carolina.”
“I appreciate the recognition of my and the foundation’s efforts,” Swinney said. “However, after much thought, in order to avoid a distraction for the team and the entire football program, I’ve decided it is in the best interests of all involved that I not attend the event on June 2.”…
“Recently, my scheduled participation in this event has been perceived incorrectly as an endorsement of certain viewpoints and has entered the political arena. I have been out of town since last Thursday and am disappointed that this has become a distraction for me, my team and many others. I have been and continue to be very open about my personal beliefs. However, I do not inject those beliefs or the work of the foundation into the political process.“
It’s unfortunate that he minimized the opposition as a “distraction” when he could have been more of a leader in denouncing the Christian group’s hateful views altogether. He just said he didn’t endorse certain viewpoints… without going into any specifics.
I get why he did that — he doesn’t want this blowing up into a bigger deal than it already is. But it’s a failure of leadership for him not to speak out in support of LGBT people when everyone was waiting to hear what he had to say.
Still, good for him for declining the appearance, no matter how pathetic his reason. And a huge round of applause to everyone who put pressure on him to do so.
(Image via YouTube. Thanks to Terry for the link)