CLEMSON, S.C. -- The violent incident in which former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punched his ex-fiancé and current wife in an elevator has recently dominated NFL headlines. On Tuesday, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said such problems extend far beyond football. During Swinney's weekly press conference a reporter asked the coach about his program's policy toward domestic violence. Swinney didn't hesitate to offer some strong comments, which are listed below.
"Zero tolerance," Swinney said. "We’re not going to deal with that kind of stuff. We had a player who is no longer here, a situation that we had in that realm.
"I grew up around that. Listen, I had first-hand knowledge. You can go down here to Safe Harbor, which is an organization we support with our foundation. It’s an emergency shelter for women to go in the middle of the night. I’ve been there. I can’t tell you how many times as a kid I was thrown in a car and driven off to go sleep in a car somewhere or knock on somebody’s door and find a place to spend the night. I understand all of that.
"The sad part is, there are women being battered every day that people don’t know about. Never know their names, nothing. But it takes a guy that runs a football to create awareness that, really, it should’ve always had, in my opinion.
"That’s the other thing. This isn’t a football problem. Football’s the evil empire. Everybody wants to create football as the bad guy. This isn’t a football problem. This is a society problem. It’s a shame to me that it took a football player to finally create a platform and the awareness that it deserves. All these unknown faces that are just as important as any football player’s wife to bring attention, to bring light to such a bad situation. Because it’s horrible. Bottom line.
"Football is a reflection of society, period. You name it, whatever’s going on in society, it’s in football, too. The good part is, it finally has gotten brought to light and it’s gotten attention. Hopefully it will create all kinds of great awareness and opportunities for a lot of women out there that are in bad situations. They are helpless. Until you’ve been in that situation, you just don’t know. It sounds easy, but it’s a very difficult thing to be a part of. Controlling, fearful and so forth. It’s great that there are places out there that provide shelter for women, provide counseling, whatever it may be. But it’s a society problem, in every sense of the word."