CBS Sports/Associated Press
They asked, and it appears that Dabo Swinney is listening.
The Clemson coach will not attend a fundraiser held by the Palmetto Family Council on June 2 after being invited to do so. Swinney was slated to receive an award from the group. Both GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and South Carolina state representative Todd Rutherford asked Swinney to skip the event, as the Palmetto Family Council is a conservative advocacy group that opposes gay marriage.
Swinney released a statement on Wednesday saying he would not attend the ceremony.
“I was recently selected by the Palmetto Family Council, an organization with which I have no association, as their “South Carolina Family Champion of 2015” and was invited to receive this recognition at an event sponsored by the group on June 2,” said Swinney in the statement. “I had no idea that I was being invited into a political controversy. It was my understanding that the nomination and selection for this award was based on the work done by our All In Foundation and the difference it is making in our community. My acceptance of this award was to be on behalf of all the volunteers that make our foundation a success. The work of our foundation is intended to build a better community and be a positive influence.
“Recently, my scheduled participation in this event has been perceived incorrectly as an endorsement of certain viewpoints and has entered the political arena. I have been out of town since last Thursday and am disappointed that this has become a distraction for me, my team and many others. I have been and continue to be very open about my personal beliefs. However, I do not inject those beliefs or the work of the foundation into the political process.
“I appreciate the recognition of my and the foundation’s efforts. However, after much thought, in order to avoid a distraction for the team and the entire football program, I’ve decided it is in the best interests of all involved that I not attend the event on June 2.”
A council statement said it understands Swinney’s choice not to attend.