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Clemson Football

Pearman apologizes for 2017 incident at practice

June 3, 2020

Tuesday afternoon, Clemson assistant coach Danny Pearman issued an apology for the use of a racial slur during a practice three years ago.

The incident, which was first brought to light by former Clemson walk-on Kanyon Tuttle, son of Tiger legend Perry Tuttle, accused Pearman of calling a player the “n-word” without Swinney ever addressing the issue with the team.

Tuttle took to Twitter and posted the following tweet:

However, Tuttle’s memory of the even doesn’t seem to reflect what actually happened according to the main player involved, D.J. Greenlee. 

Greenlee, whose father is an assistant coach on the strength and conditioning staff, is a young man that Pearman certainly knows very well both on and off the field as Clemson’s staff is a tight-knit group. 

In a report from The State, Matt Connolly noted that Greenlee told him that:

“It was just a heated argument during practice, basically. He heard me use the n-word basically, and basically tried to correct me by saying the n-word back. He wasn’t saying that I was a n-word." 

This account seems to go against the claim from Tuttle that a coach “called” a player the n-word, as was previously tweeted.

Tuttle later tweeted, “Don’t think I don’t respect Coach Swinney, he is not a terrible person by any means, But he needs to do better than this. All the black athletes that helped you get where you are, you can do better to show them you really have their best interest at heart."

While the use of the n-word in all accounts is reprehensible, it doesn’t seem that Tuttle’s account was accurate as Pearman seemed agitated that the n-word was being used on the field of play.

According to sources, Swinney doesn’t allow the n-word to be used in the facilities or on the practice field by anyone.

Last night, Pearman issued a public statement on what took place:

“Three years ago on the practice field, I made a grave mistake involving D.J. Greenlee. I repeated a racial slur I overheard when trying to stop the word from being used on the practice field. What I overheard, I had no right to repeat.

While I did not direct the term at any player, I know there is no excuse for me using the language in any circumstance. I never should have repeated the phrase. It was wrong when I said it, and it is wrong today.

I apologized to D.J. at the conclusion of practice, who then appropriately raised his concern to Coach Swinney. Coach and I met to discuss the incident, and he reiterated that my language was unacceptable. I later apologized again as well as expressed my sincere regret to our position group the following day.

I love the young men who choose to come to our university, and I would never do anything to intentionally hurt them. I sincerely apologize to D.J., his family, our team and our staff."

In his interview with The State, Greenlee said that Swinney would speak with Pearman about what happened. And while Greenlee didn’t know if that conversation actually took place, he did receive many apologies from Pearman the rest of the season. 

“He apologized the rest of that season,” Greenlee told The State. “He knew he was in the wrong. You can’t hold a grudge against someone forever.”

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Pearman apologizes for 2017 incident at practice

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