FFRF to Clemson coach: Take responsibility

In response to a Freedom From Religion Foundation complaint about serious constitutional violations within the Clemson University football program in South Carolina, Coach Dabo Swinney issued a statement today.

After an investigation, FFRF sent a complaint April 10 about religious entanglements in the program. Swinney’s prepared statement began, “Over the past week or two, there has been a lot of discussion of my faith.” The full statement can be read here.

FFRF, in a statement of its own, calls on the coach to take responsibility for his conduct and make changes to the program:

“Coach Dabo Swinney’s prepared statement does not address the fundamental constitutional problem. While it is reassuring to hear that players of any faith or no faith are welcome to play football at Clemson, public school coaches also must not endorse or advance religion. His religion is not the issue; it is his proselytizing in a public university football program. It is a bedrock constitutional principle that government employees cannot abuse their position to advance their religion. Unfortunately, the current climate of entanglement between the football program and religion sends a message of inclusion of fundamentalist Christian football players while excluding all others.

“University records reveal that Clemson coaches are intimately involved in team bible studies, church services and other religious activities. Clemson University needs to take corrective action and ensure that coaches are not violating the Constitution. As it stands, the coach has failed to take responsibility for promoting Christianity as part of the football program and failed to state what, if any, corrective action he will take.”

The coach says in his statement that players “must be good citizens.” FFRF reminds him that good citizens obey the law — in this case the Constitution, the highest law of the land.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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