Swinney responds to Las Vegas shootings with passionate speech
|Tuesday, October 3, 2017, 12:36 PM-|
CLEMSON – Become a change agent.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was passionate during his weekly press conference Tuesday, and he was on point when discussing the upcoming football game against Wake Forest and even recruiting. But his real passion came out when he was asked by WYFF's Marc Dopher about the recent events in Las Vegas and how he addresses that topic with his team.
Swinney paused for a moment before telling those in attendance that real change starts with the individual, and that he thinks Clemson has what the world is looking for.
A gunman opened fire on concert-goers in Las Vegas late Sunday night, killing 59 and wounding over 500, and Swinney said he spoke with his team about the horrific incident.
“We talk about everything in our program. There's a lot going on in this world. Every day for us is a life-teaching moment. Every single day,” Swinney said. “The one thing I tell our guys - in my opinon, what the country wants and what a lot of people want in their life, we have right here. I see it every day. I see people that love each other. I see people that sometimes don't get along but then they put their arms around each other.
“They may disagree but they're not disagreeable. I see people who serve others. I see all kinds of different folks - backgrounds, colors. I come to work every day and I just see family. I see it. Really, that's what people want. They want love. They want respect. They want communication. They want family. That's what everybody wants, but sometimes they don't know how to articulate it. They don't know how to quite get there. They get the wrong things in their head and the next thing you know it's just a bunch of noise. Everybody is just screaming and you can't hear nothing.”
Swinney said his focus is making sure the young people in his care are equipped for life.
“I know this - what my focus is building great men right here, keeping the main thing the main thing and not getting distracted by a bunch of noise. Do what I know we're great at doing here, and that is equipping young people to go and kick butt in life,” he said. “That's how hopefully we can create great change with one simple person, one small, simple team.”
How does he go about that task?
“Let's teach these guys, let's equip them, let's empower them. Let's teach them how to love. Let's teach them how to serve. Let's teach them how to care,” Swinney said. “Let's teach them how to be great teammates. Let's teach them how to disagree. Let's teach them how to handle adversity. Let's teach them how to handle success. Let's teach them every single day from examples out there. We're going to all learn from our own experiences but the wise person learns through other people's experiences, so we constantly try to do that and we're never perfect and never will be.”
Swinney then quoted Mahatma Gandhi in what was a first for a football press conference.
“Every day is an opportunity to teach. That's what I love about my job,” he said. “Every single day we get a chance to teach and communicate. These are young people and to try to help them think the right way, try to help them process things because at the end of the day - Gandhi said it - your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, and your values become your destiny. Your destiny is really what you believe and what your thoughts are, how you process things, how you respond to things.”
His passionate speech continued as he implored people to become change agents.
“We're constantly - and it never ends - using the game of football to build great men that are graduates, that can think on their own feet, that can stand on their own feet, that are empowered to go out in this world,” Swinney said. “One of these days, we can look up - five years or 10 years - and we can look up and say, 'Man.' I always tell them don't leave that here. What the world wants, we've got it, so take it with you. Take it into your communities. Take it into your churches. Take it into your businesses.
"Take it into your new locker rooms that you're going to. Take that with you and be a change agent, man. Create change. Maybe we look up down the road and we've got a governor, a president, a senator, CEOs, all of these things. Hopefully, through the little role we have here in Clemson, South Carolina, we can help bring some of what we have here and what I know we have here out into the world. I really believe that's how you change things on the outside is what you do on the inside. Everything is about what's on the inside.”