According to South Carolina players, rivalry week allegedly took an ugly, racist turn on Saturday; Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney believes otherwise.
Clemson routed South Carolina 56-7 Saturday, cementing its spot in the ACC title game and, seeing as the Tigers will face Virginia Tech, the college football playoff. In the wake of the blowout loss, several Gamecocks players spoke with the media and took to social media to air reports of racially charged comments allegedly made by unnamed Tigers players. Swinney defended his team’s character and denied the allegations when asked about the matter Monday.
Prior to kickoff, there was the usual pushing and shoving that is typical of rivalry contests. The bitterness between the two teams was not limited to physicality, however. Per the Post & Courier, South Carolina’s Bryson Allen-Williams accused members of the Clemson team of calling a Gamecock defensive lineman “the N-word.”
“They called one of our defensive linemen, they used the N-word,” junior linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams told reporters after the game. “An offensive lineman, I don’t know his number. ... We’re going to get our get-back. Next year we play them in Williams-Brice Stadium, and we’re definitely going to have that game circled.”
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His claims were backed by two other South Carolina players on Twitter, with defensive lineman Dante Sawyer and receiver Terry Googer posting on their private accounts that Clemson players had used the word against African-American Gamecock athletes. The State pulled the text of the posts:
Wide receiver Terry Googer, who was visibly upset after the game, said this on Twitter: “Never thought I would hear so many racial slurs in my life!! Classless is not a strong enough word to describe the actions!”
South Carolina defensive lineman Dante Sawyer referenced a racial slur in a postgame tweet.
“racism still alive in Clemson i see.. classless sobs, still calling people (racial slur) is crazy,” was posted on Sawyer’s Twitter page shortly before midnight.
According to The State, Clemson offensive lineman Jay Guillermo contacted Sawyer following the airing of the allegations.
With all the tension following the game @Jay_Guillermo57 reached out about the situation, received all my respect,” Sawyer posted.
When confronted with the allegations of verbal racism, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney denied that any of his players used the n-word against their South Carolina counterparts, according to ESPN. Swinney said his players marked the allegations as false when he confronted them about it, which seems to have been enough to assuage the coach’s concerns on the matter:
“I was made aware of that. Obviously everyone is talking about it. That’s a shame,” Swinney said Sunday. “Absolutely I asked my guys about that. To a man, absolutely false. I believe my guys. I know the character of our team and that’s really all there is to say about it.”
There’s probably a lot more to say about it, but Dabo’s done here.