CLEMSON — For the first time since the revelation that assistant coach Danny Pearman used a racial slur during a 2017 Clemson practice, a Tigers tight end on Tuesday addressed the incident.
Junior Braden Galloway, Clemson’s projected starter, said all is “forgiven” with Pearman, who coaches tight ends and special teams.
“I had prior knowledge of that before it really came out,” Galloway said. “I know what kind of coach, I know what kind of guy and person coach Pearman is. That was something that went in one ear and out the other.”
The news that Pearman had used a slur, as first reported by The State in June, came as the nation was mired in mass protests over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died after a Minnesota police officer kneeled on his neck. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was charged with third-degree murder.
It was reported Pearman had repeated a slur first used by former Clemson tight end D.J. Grenlee in an attempt to dissuade Greenlee from using it in the future. Pearman has not addressed the media about the incident but did offer an apology in a written statement.
“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,” he wrote.
Clemson later held a march for racial equality that was attended by about 3,000 people.
Pearman “cleared the air” in a virtual meeting with the Tigers’ offense, Galloway said, and also addressed the incident privately with Galloway and redshirt freshman Jaelyn Lay, who are the only two black tight ends in a position group of seven.
“There are things going on in this world today that aren’t right, and some people, it’s hard to get through to their minds. (You) try to explain to them, and they’re just not very understanding,” Galloway said. “Coach Pearman is not one of those people. He’s very empathetic, he’s very sympathetic to how we feel.”
Galloway said Pearman didn’t need to address the situation at all, but he was heartened the 55-year-old coach did take some time.
“He could’ve easily just let it blow over, not say anything about it, and I probbaly wouldn’t have addressed it,” Galloway said. “I know how he’s treated me. I know how he’s treated other African Americans on the team.”
Kickoff times announced
Clemson on Tuesday learned the kickoff times for its first two games of the season.
The Tigers’ opener at Wake Forest on Sept. 12 will start at 7:30 p.m. and air on ABC. The following week, coach Dabo Swinney’s team will be at Death Valley against The Citadel at 4 p.m. on the ACC Network.
Clemson’s showdown against Notre Dame on Nov. 7 is set for 7:30 p.m. on NBC.
The Tigers, who have won two of the past four College Football Playoff national championships, are No. 1 in the AP preseason Top 25 poll and in the USA Today preseason football coaches poll.
Clemson will limit home game attendance this season to about 19,000 fans.
Clemson 2020 schedule
Sept. 12: at Wake Forest, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 19: The Citadel, 4 p.m.
Sept. 26: Open date
Oct 3: vs. Virginia
Oct. 10: vs. Miami
Oct. 17: at Georgia Tech
Oct. 24: vs. Syracuse
Oct. 31: vs. Boston College
Nov. 7: at Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 14: Open date
Nov. 21: at Florida State
Nov. 28: vs. Pitt
Dec. 5: at Virginia Tech
Follow Joshua Needelman on Twitter at @joshneedelman.
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