Swinney: "It's not about who the best Christian is, it's about who the best player is"

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Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
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said on Wednesday in response to the FFRF complaint that for him, it is not about who the best Christian is but who the best player is and always will be.

Swinney points to former wide receiver Aaron Kelly, a Jehovah Witness, as an example of playing the best players regardless of their religion.

"We couldn't have more opposite faiths," Swinney. "But yet I coached him for five years. I love Aaron Kelly and Aaron Kelly loves me and his family loves me. I never had a problem, ever, in coaching him. He was never a guy that went to church with us. He didn't pray with the team if the team ever prayed together, and it was never a problem. He became the all-time leading receiver at Clemson and the ACC. It's not about who the best Christian is, it's about who the best player is. It always has been and it always will be. I'm very proud of the people we have at Clemson, the culture we have at Clemson, how we run our program and the type of men we produce out of our great university."

Swinney was asked if he felt that any of his players were ever uncomfortable with how religion was handled at Clemson.

"No. I have coached and recruited just about every faith and religion and non-religion that is out there," Swinney said. "I've never had a problem with any of that kind of stuff. I am who I am. I am proud to be a Christian. And by being a Christian I am a Christian in everything I do. People that know me they know that I am a long ways from being perfect. You can ask my players, my wife or anybody...I am a long ways from being perfect. But I do try to live my life to be a positive influence on those around me. I've never been a guy who tried to force anything on anyone. I just am who I am. I'm proud of how we run our program. "

Swinney said he believes Clemson is no different from any other college football program in the area of religion.

"I would say anything we have in our program from a spiritual standpoint is and always has been voluntary," Swinney said. "We are really no different than any other program out there in how we operate as far as providing our players opportunities to grow in any aspect of their lives."

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