Swinney says his players are educated on pitfalls of autographs

by - Staff Writer -
Swinney said he hopes that his players will learn from the mistakes of others. (TigerNet Staff)

CLEMSON- Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
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and the Clemson football team don’t live in caves, so they have seen the autograph controversy that has surrounded Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, and Swinney wants his team to learn from other’s mistakes.

Since the Manziel autograph story has taken over headlines and even encompassed South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Swinney has taken the time to address the rules with his team and remind them to be aware of who they are signing autographs for.

Swinney said that he addresses all of the problems in college football with his team, and hopes that his players will learn from the mistakes of others so that those mistakes never make their way into the Clemson program.

“Absolutely, we try to talk to them all of the time,” Swinney said after Wednesday’s practice. “That’s one of the things that we try to do all of the time. Anytime we see that someone gets arrested in college football or do something stupid, it’s certainly wise to teach. It’s great to learn from your own mistakes, but it’s much more wise to learn from other’s mistakes. That’s kind of the philosophy that we have. We have a board where we post things.”

Swinney always tries to teach his players that despite their high-profile status, they can’t live their lives with a sense of entitlement, but rather they must live their lives with discipline.

“We try to talk to them and teach them that there’s no entitlement, nobody is invincible, we live in a great world and we have a great opportunity, but you treat people with respect, you do the right things and when you don’t do the right things there are consequences,” he said. “It’s just that simple. When you do right things, there are good consequences. There’s always a saying that there is pain in life. There is pain in discipline or there is pain in regret. One is better than the other. Everyone is going to have pain, but is better to live your life with discipline. We try to talk about that. When we have our own problems on this team, we do the same thing. We try to grow and teach everybody.”

Swinney said that he and his players are approached at the grocery story, at the mall, and in all types of social settings for autographs, and that sometimes it’s difficult to tell who is really a fan.

“The autograph situation is a tough thing,” Swinney said. “We educate them. I don’t think we’ve got anybody sitting down like what is apparently what’s going on there. Who knows what’s going on in that situation? At least I hope not. You have Ebay people that are coming up to you whether it’s in a grocery story or the mall asking ‘hey, can you sign.’ Lord, I sign all kinds of stuff. I’m sure there are Ebay things with my name or a player that I don’t know about.”

However, one of the things he tells his players to do is to make the autograph out to a specific person.

“One of the things I always tell the players, ‘Who’s it to?’ I tell the players, be vigilant, use good judgment, and you can usually tell when it’s an Ebay person or somebody who just genuinely wants your autograph,” he said. “Put it to somebody. Obviously just a reminder that you can’t go sit down and sign a bunch of stuff for money.”

Clemson is a small university where players and coaches are easily approached, and Swinney doesn’t want that to change because of mistakes by others.

“You want your players to be engaged,” he said. “You want your players to be approachable especially in a place like Clemson. I consider Clemson to be kind of grass roots type program. People come on the field and get autographs and that’s what makes this place special. You hate to see any of that go away because a few people abuse those types of things.. You can’t do that. Everybody knows the rules. Whether you like the rules or not, it doesn’t matter. The rules are the rules and you have to respect them.”

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