Clemson's Dabo Swinney to skip fundraiser

Clemson's Sweeney to skip fundraiser after backlash

ESPN ACC reporter Jared Shanker discusses Clemson coach Dabo Swinney's decision to skip fundraiser held by a conservative South Carolina organization after receiving criticism from gay rights groups.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney will skip a fundraiser for the conservative Palmetto Family Council after receiving backlash from gay rights groups, Clemson students and the South Carolina House minority leader.

In a statement, Swinney said:

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. 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.