A few weeks ago Clemson coach Dabo Swinney came under fire from the Freedom From Religion Foundation for “unconstitutional behavior.” Essentially the group thought that he was forcing his religious beliefs on his players. According to the charges, Swinney had his players participate in Bible days, Fellowship of Christian Athletes breakfasts, team devotionals and the hiring of the team chaplain. However, none of the activities were mandatory and no player lost a scholarship because he failed to attend them. Furthermore, no player, coach, or staff member has filed a complaint against the head coach, and Swinney has said that all faiths are welcome on the team. So it really doesn’t make sense why a group from Wisconsin is complaining about this issue.
In defense of his coaching practices Swinney turned to the all-time ACC leader in receptions, Aaron Kelly. Kelly, as a Jehovah’s Witness, was the closest a player ever came to having a problem with his coach’s religious lifestyle. Swinney, however, says he never had a problem coaching Kelly, and Kelly reiterated those sentiments.
“He was never a guy who went to church with us, he didn’t pray with the team if the team ever prayed together,” says Swinney.
While I can understand why the Freedom From Religion Foundation had reason to suspect that the FIrst Amendment wasn’t being protected, I don’t think it is their job to initiate a complaint. If a player has a problem with the way their coach is running the team, he should speak up. In my opinion this is a case of a group trying to be too politically correct and stirring up the pot. If something isn’t broken, do not fix it.