People hear what they want to hear, Dabo Swinney said.
On Tuesday, the Clemson coach was asked about a 2014 comment that went viral earlier this summer when name, image and likeness became a reality for college student-athletes.
Seven years ago, Swinney was asked about athletes unionizing.
“As far as paying players, professionalizing college athletics, that’s where you lose me,” he said. “I’ll go do something else, because there’s enough entitlement in this world as it is. To say these guys get nothing totally devalues an education. It just blows my mind people don’t even want to quantify an education.”
Social media had Swinney – who isn’t on Twitter – trending for the comments, wondering if he was, indeed, going to do something else.
Baltimore Ravens cornerback and former Alabama star Marlon Humphrey was one of those to bring up the old quote.
“Didn’t Dabo say he was going to quit if athletes could get paid?” Humphrey posted to Twitter.
Swinney, a Pelham native, said all you can do is laugh about it.
“We live in a world now where not everybody does much research,” Swinney said. “You go in the bathroom and hear somebody on the phone in the third stall and that’s your source. Just calling it like it is. And that’s the headline. I think people hear what they want to hear, and then unfortunately a lot of people write what they want to write to fit the story that they need. And it’s just not accurate. I’ve never had a problem with name, image and likeness. I think it should have been more. If I’d have been the czar, I’d have done it differently, because I don’t think everybody’s gonna have much opportunity with it. Some will. But not everybody will have opportunity.
“I would have liked to have seen it tied to graduation, education. … What I said, whenever that was, I still say. I am against professionalizing college athletics where we get away from the collegiate model and the value of a degree and the value of an education. I’ve never, ever said I’m against name, image and likeness. I think it’s a lot of common sense. I think it could be more. I think it could be tied more to the education process so everybody would have had a little more opportunity. I said that, whenever it was, but people hear what they want to hear.”
Mark Heim is a sports reporter for The Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Heim.