Clemson University football coach Dabo Swinney said Wednesday that he will not attend a Palmetto Family Council event next week in Columbia. Swinney canceled after a state Democratic leader protested that the organization opposes same-sex marriage.
“(A)fter 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,” Swinney said in a statement.
Swinney said he had no association with the Palmetto Family Council. He was named its “South Carolina Family Champion of 2015” and was invited to receive the award at the June 2 event.
“I had no idea that I was being invited into a political controversy,” Swinney said. “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.”
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Swinney said his scheduled participation at the event “has been perceived incorrectly as an endorsement of certain viewpoints and has entered the political arena.”
“I have been and continue to be very open about my personal beliefs,” Swinney said. “However, I do not inject those beliefs or the work of the foundation into the political process.”
S.C. House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, said last week that Swinney should not appear at the event for the conservative organization that opposes same-sex marriage.