Former Clemson player details incident in which assistant coach used the N-word in practice
On Tuesday, when Clemson tweeted out some audio of coach Dabo Swinney addressing the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, former player Kanyon Tuttle took to Twitter to call out the coach for hypocrisy.
Tuttle alleged that Swinney’s response wasn’t sufficient when an assistant coach used the N-word during practice a few years ago.
Later on Tuesday, The State spoke to a player involved in the incident — former TE D.J. Greenlee. Greenlee said the coach, Danny Pearman, didn’t directly use the word toward him, but explained the scenario:
“It was just a heated argument during practice, basically. Me and the coach got into it and I was speaking with one of my teammates. He heard me use the n-word basically, and basically tried to correct me by saying the n-word back,” Greenlee told The State.
“He wasn’t saying that I was a n-word. It was, using the tone, in a word like, ‘OK … I was talking to my teammate and you came over here.’”
Greenlee said Pearman apologized afterward and for the rest of the season. He added that he doesn’t know if Swinney spoke to Pearman or not:
“Yeah, it happened,” Greenlee recalled. “It was a heated time or whatever. I spoke with him after practice. Coach Swinney explained to me what was going on. He said he was going to talk with coach Pearman. I don’t know if he did. Coach Pearman apologized. This was three years ago.”
Greenlee said he was eventually able to accept Pearman’s apology.
“He apologized the rest of that season. He knew he was in the wrong,” Greenlee said. “You can’t hold a grudge against someone forever.”