Clemson’s head football coach Dabo Swinney gave his thoughts on the recent national anthem protests spurred by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and while Dabo seemed to try to come across understanding and discerning, his reference to Martin Luther King Jr. was ill-informed and out of touch.
Twitter let Swinney have it Tuesday, and Wednesday Clemson Professor Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika, through an open letter posted on The Grio, further ethered the coach while giving him a history lesson on MLK in the process.
H/T: Carolina Blitz
I winced when I heard a reporter ask you, a white man who makes somewhere in the area of $5 million a year from the physical labor and bodily risk of unpaid black athletes, if he would “discipline” them for making a political statement. Given that you and I both work on the former plantation of John C. Calhoun, the historical significance of the question is staggering and troubling….
First, let me say that I understand why you did this. Your statements reproduce a long history of folks, conservative and otherwise, positioning Dr. King as the palatable Christian alternative to unruly black protest.
What better way to silence the profit-threatening specter of black athlete protest than by offering the image of a civil rights activist who protested in a way that was more “professional” and “convenient” for everyone?
There’s only one problem. There was nothing convenient or palatable about Dr. King.
You can read Professor Kumanyika’s open letter to Swinney in its entirety here. It will be well worth your time.