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.”