Hey Shannon Sharpe: This time, you're just wrong in criticism of Swinney
|Thursday, June 18, 2020, 7:37 AM- -|
It’s not my job to take up for head coach Dabo Swinney. He can do that all by himself. No, it’s not my job, but this time I am stepping in and calling it like I see it. Shannon Sharpe of FoxSports has a grudge against Swinney, and it’s personal. It’s not about racial injustice or what Swinney has said or hasn’t said. It’s personal.
Sharpe has been unabashed in his criticism of everything Swinney has done over the last few weeks, railing against Swinney’s “Football Matters” shirt and everything in between. I tweeted back at Bomani Jones last week after Jones wouldn’t let the shirt go, and tried to inject some common sense. It’s a pool. It’s his day off. It’s a shirt he’s worn quite a bit around me. And usually, there is no one at that pool.
I was told to stay in my lane. Yeah, sure.
Before the peaceful demonstration in Clemson last weekend, Sharpe retweeted a picture of a few trucks bearing Confederate flags and said, “This can’t be happening in Dabo’s backyard!” And later, “Football Matters.”
At that point, it goes beyond a hot take. It goes beyond being disappointed in something a person says or does. There is something else there, and I thought then that it would be great if Sharpe would just admit it.
On his show Undisputed earlier this week, Sharpe went even further.
“Dabo is one of these guys who asks, ‘What is the least I can do to get the best bang for my little participation,’” Sharpe said. “Because he still has that fan base he can’t rile up because he is in South Carolina but wants to show he still has a little empathy for his players.”
Following those comments, I reached out to the PR person at Fox Sports for comment on Sharpe’s words. I heard nothing back. I reached out a second time to see how Fox Sports feels about the comments and of course I heard nothing.
I guess they all missed Swinney’s comments last weekend.
“Clemson is a special place, and we saw why that is again today. This is a historic time and a challenging time. But as I tell my team all the time, challenge is what creates change,” Swinney said. “I believe with all my heart that God stopped the world in 2020 so we would have perfect vision and clearly see the social and racial injustices and changes that need to occur in our society.
“Nobody, nobody, should feel less or be treated as less because of the color of their skin. God loves every single one of us the same. Black lives more than matter. Black lives significantly matter and equally matter. And for far too long that has not been the case in the black community. Now is the time to push for equal justice and no longer tolerate police brutality or racism of any kind in this country.”
He then went on to say he supported recent name changes at the school.
“And I am embarrassed to say that there are things on this campus that I didn't really understand. I knew the basics but not the details, but I've learned and I've listened,” Swinney said. “Two of our best players had the courage to speak out, along with so many beautiful students on this campus, about their concerns and their feelings about buildings on this campus Nuk Hopkins will always be remembered for his amazing career and 4th-and-16, and Deshaun Watson will always be remembered for his fearless leadership and how he led us to our first National Championship in 35 years. They both brought us a lot of joy, a lot of joy to Clemson, but we should no longer expect them, or our players, to hear our cheers if we do not hear their cries.”
Listen, I understand Paul Finebaum’s criticism. He has to push the SEC as much as possible, and Clemson stands in the way of the SEC dominance conversation (and Ohio State is joining Clemson there). I also understand that for whatever reason Finebaum is still upset over 44-16. It hurts him and it’s evident. Him, I get.
Shannon Sharpe’s vitriol against Dabo? I don’t get that.
Swinney could be one of those guys that talks about what he’s done for the community and people in the community. I know of cars that have been bought, houses that have been provided, and money that has been given. In each instance, I’ve been asked to not say anything. He does it because that’s the kind of guy he is, not for the notoriety it would bring. In fact, after Swinney and Monte Lee went to help in Seneca after the tornado, I was asked where TigerNet got the photo. He didn’t do it for a photo op, he did it to help.
There are plenty of sports personalities whose actions deserve critique, and there are those that maybe we can question their actions when it comes to race. But I stood there Saturday and saw current and former players, black and white, eschew social distancing measures so they could hug their coach. Tears were shed. The mutual love and affection is evident.
I was sitting at home later that night when a text came across my phone, asking about Sharpe’s comments. The person then told me he needed to tell me a story about Swinney helping a young couple with a house in Alabama. That story idea? Won’t happen,because Swinney doesn't want the attention.
Sorry, Shannon. On this one you’re just wrong.