Dear Coach Swinney:
The Clemson University Graduate Student Government, after much reflection, finds your recent public remarks concerning the actions of Colin Kaepernick to be unfortunate in light of recent racial turmoil nationally and at Clemson University.
Protest and dissent are inextricable components of the founding of our great nation and as such are cherished and protected forms of expression. To explicitly state that one’s expression of dissent should be performed in a manner more consistent with your own values is not only haphazard, but can also be construed as un-American.
We also believe evoking the name of one our nation’s greatest dissenters, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to be a misguided attempt at repairing the racial tensions that have been plaguing our campus. While we firmly believe you had the best of intentions, the apparent misrepresentation of one of our greatest civil rights leaders is a gross perversion of that message and demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of the issues African Americans face on a daily basis.
As someone who enjoys considerable ethos on both a local and national level, you are among the most public of faces for our great institution. This ethos carries a burden; your words have an impact that extends far beyond the playing field. Graduate Student Government is asking you to use your credibility to issue an apology to the students, alumni, faculty, and community at-large for which your words have had negatively affected.
Clemson University Graduate Student Government