Dabo Swinney says a player's sexual orientation is nobody's business but his own

'You have respect for each individual and their personal beliefs'

Clemson's Dabo Swinney walks with players in a pregame team walk during warmups at the Discover Orange Bowl in Sun Life Stadium Miami, Florida.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's Dabo Swinney walks with players in a pregame team walk during warmups at the Discover Orange Bowl in Sun Life Stadium Miami, Florida.

On third-and-15 in the fourth quarter, Dabo Swinney says he couldn't care less about a player's sexual orientation.

The subject - in the news all week in the aftermath of NFL-bound Missouri defensive end Michael Sam's revelation that he is gay - was raised to Swinney during an interview with 92.9 The Game in Atlanta.

Swinney said that there were gay players on teams at Alabama when he played, and he's sure there have been gay players at Clemson during his time there.

The bottom line, he said, is that it's nobody's business.

"To be honest with you I don't get in all that stuff, " Swinney said. "I don't think it is anyone's business what their sexual orientation is. This is football. I have a lot of personal beliefs that I believe in, but I can't transfer those to the football field. On third-and-2 or third-and-15, you need the best football player.

"When I was at Alabama there were a couple of guys, as a player, that we felt like that was their sexual orientation. But it was never an issue, never a problem. It's not something that you run out to tell people.

"Again, you have respect for each individual and their personal beliefs. It's just like they're different religions. I'm a Christian, but I've coached and played with Muslims and all kind of different religions. It's not about any of that. Those are personal decisions that people have to make. I mean everyone is going to be judged one day, but it's not up to me to judge somebody."

Swinney said players' sexual orientation has been a non-issue during his time coaching at Clemson.

"It's the same thing since I've been here at Clemson," Swinney said. "I've been here 11 seasons now and I'd be foolish to think there hasn't been a few guys that have come through here. That would be foolish. A football team is really just a reflection of society. It really is. You've got 118, 120 guys on the team, you got a little bit of everything.

"That's your job as a teammate, your job as a coach to bring all that together. It's not just sexual orientation. It's religious beliefs, it's background, culture. You are just talking about one thing. There are lots of things that are dividing or potentially dividing factors among people.

"That's what makes football great. Football is the ultimate team sport. There is nothing that brings race, religion, and all that stuff together like the game of the football."

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Comments » 6

michtiger writes:

Thank you Dabo. Think of a world with this truly compassionate view!!

Xander5000 writes:

To know or not to know? That is the real question.

To know will be basically an altering of a straight group on how they do things in the locker room. Maybe they wait as long as they can before they get undressed to suit up to avoid so and so. Maybe they rush in the locker room to get undressed to suit up before so and so gets in there. Yeah I could imagine the uneasy feeling of a room full of young men or in that type of environment.

Not to know means that you will go on with life as usual. You will view so and so as a teammate like you do everyone else. The only thing that will shock you maybe, is after all of you have graduated and retired from football and then it comes out. There is nothing you can do but be in shock or say that you knew all along.

The world is a changing scary place.

tigerrob44#291802 writes:

Who cares what another person’s sexual orientation is anyway. They don’t try to force their way of life on you, do they? The problem is a lot of straight, “Christian” people try to force their way of life on them. Two of my best friends are lesbians. We never talk about it or anything. They are no different than any other two woman except they like each other sexually. And so do I. As long as what other people do or do not do does not infringe on you nothing should matter what anybody does as long it’s not against statutory law. Most gay men look and act no different than any “jock” type person you may know. Now if they are what gays call “flaming” you can tell real quick but I still say so what. Don’t mess with me and go on about your business.

meb4077 writes:

tigerrob44 - "Don’t mess with me and go on about your business."

Words to live by. But it needs to go both ways. I worked in the restaurant business while at Clemson and of the gay guys I dealt with, one made constant comments about raping fellow waiters in the parking lot, and the host refused to give tables to waiters that didn't flirt with him, and since it was a chain, they were too terrified of bad publicity to do anything about it. Several other gay guys I worked with were fine and professional. Point being, everyone, gay and straight, needs to be held to a professional standard and the standard needs to exist before an issue comes up. Guys talking disrespectfully about women need to be curbed to avoid a double standard. The locker room needs to be business. Fortunately, from what Brandon Thomas and others said when interviewed after the Dolphin's fiasco surfaced, it seems we do have that disciplined culture, and if it needs improving, that seems to be one of Dabo's strengths.

I work in a nearly all male environment now (manufacturing) that is well balanced, including the 19-25 year olds. It being a bunch of guys, it can be crude, but it's not sexual. Mostly fart jokes. If our 19 year olds can know how to behave, then certainly it's not unreasonable to expect it of college students.

TheTruth46 writes:

in response to tigerrob44#291802:

Who cares what another person’s sexual orientation is anyway. They don’t try to force their way of life on you, do they? The problem is a lot of straight, “Christian” people try to force their way of life on them. Two of my best friends are lesbians. We never talk about it or anything. They are no different than any other two woman except they like each other sexually. And so do I. As long as what other people do or do not do does not infringe on you nothing should matter what anybody does as long it’s not against statutory law. Most gay men look and act no different than any “jock” type person you may know. Now if they are what gays call “flaming” you can tell real quick but I still say so what. Don’t mess with me and go on about your business.

"They are no different than any other two woman except they like each other sexually. And so do I." Robbie, you might want a re-do on this. Possibly, your best option would be to button it, and go sit in the corner. Just thinking.

DerrikB writes:

in response to TheTruth46:

"They are no different than any other two woman except they like each other sexually. And so do I." Robbie, you might want a re-do on this. Possibly, your best option would be to button it, and go sit in the corner. Just thinking.

Most people understand what he was trying to say- But I guess if you prefer sex with yourself rather than with another person I can see how you get confused....

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