Dabo Swinney

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Forbes: Car dealership group part-owned by Nick Saban received millions in PPP loans

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This certainly won’t serve as fodder for the Nick Saban haters in the audience, will it?  Nah.  Of course it won’t.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has doled out in the neighborhood of five million loans to small businesses.  This facet of the stimulus package helps companies with 500 or fewer employees retain those workers by covering eight weeks worth of payroll expenses.

Which brings us to Nick Saban.

The Alabama head coach is part-owner of a string of car dealerships located in four states throughout the Southern U.S. called the Dream Motor Group.  This week, the United State Small Business Administration, which oversees the PPP, released data on the companies that applied for and received loans through the program.  And, according to Forbes.com, Dream Motor Group received between $5 million and $11 in PPP loans the past few months.

Before getting all bent out of shape, there’s more nuance to the story.  From the report:

Saban is a partner in Dream Motor Group, which is run by CEO Joe Agresti.

Agresti says that the loan money was used only for payroll purposes, and that it kept his and Saban’s 480 workers employed. They’ve also continued to pay the roughly 9% of high-risk employees who they instructed to stay home since the pandemic began, he says. Agresti adds he hasn’t taken a salary since March. Saban doesn’t take a salary but instead receives a percentage of profits, Agresti explains. Saban did not reply to a request for comment.

“I’m proud of the way we handled it,” Agresti says. “I don’t know that we would be bankrupt today [if we didn’t take the money]. But it would have been bad.

Saban, of course, has done quite well financially as a football coach.  In 2019, Saban’s $8.7 million salary was second in the country behind only the $9.3 million pulled in by Clemson’s Dabo Swinney.  In July of 2018, Alabama announced a revamped contract that would pay Saban in the neighborhood of $75 million over eight years.

Not surprisingly, Saban is far from the only one connected to the sport to benefit from the PPP program.  From SportsBusinessDaily.com:

In the college realm, Conference USA received a loan worth between $350,000 and $1M, which preserved 21 jobs. The National Football Foundation and College Football HOF, Ole Miss Athletics Foundation and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) also received loans in the same range.

And then you have Tom Brady and his TB12 company as well.  So there’s that.

Star Clemson WR Justyn Ross already rehabbing less than two weeks after neck surgery

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One Clemson football standout proclaimed earlier this month that he’s going to “shock the world.”

Justyn Ross was very limited as Clemson worked its way through a spring football practice that was ultimately scuttled because of the coronavirus pandemic.  In lieu of an official explanation from the program, rumors of the seriousness of Ross’ health issues had been bouncing off the vast expanses of the Internet.

In mid-March, Dabo Swinney attempted to clear the air, saying that the standout wide receiver is “perfectly fine” even as he’s dealing with what’s being described as “stinger symptoms.” Late last month, however, it was reported that Ross will undergo surgery this month.  A Clemson football official subsequently confirmed that a medical procedure is in the offing.

June 1, Swinney confirmed that Ross will undergo surgery this month.  In doing so, Swinney also revealed that the receiver will miss the entire 2020 season.  And, it’s a congenital neck issue that could potentially end his playing career.  At that point, Ross issued his proclamation.

Tuesday, less than two weeks after the June 5 surgery on his neck and spine, Ross posted a video on Twitter in which he’s seen rehabbing in a pool.  In a neck brace.  With a Clemson mask on.

Ross was the No. 1 player in the state of Alabama in the Class of 2018, and he has more than lived up to the recruiting hype.

His first two seasons with the Clemson football program, Ross has totaled 1,865 yards and 17 touchdowns on 112 receptions.  This past season, caught 66 passes for 865 yards and eight touchdowns.

In four career College Football Playoff games, Ross has a statline of 23-424-3 for the Tigers.

At this point, it’s unclear if Ross, if he’s physically able to return, will return to the Tigers for another season in 2021.  Or, make himself available for next year’s NFL draft.

Star RB Chuba Hubbard tees off on Mike Gundy wearing an ‘OAN’ t-shirt, says he ‘will not be doing anything with Oklahoma State until things CHANGE’

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This time at Oklahoma State, another college football coach is being taken to task for his attire.  Specifically, his choice of t-shirt.

Dabo Swinney was photographed this month wearing a shirt with the National Football Foundation slogan “Football Matters” emblazoned on it.  Some thought it was a subtle shot at the Black Lives Matter movement.  Swinney stated that’s not even remotely the case, while his star quarterback backed him up.

Monday, a photo surfaced of Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy wearing a t-shirt with the OAN logo emblazoned on the front.  For those unaware of what One America News — or One America News Network — is, CNN once described it as “the little-watched right-wing news channel.” OAN is also very pro-President Donald Trump, even describing itself as one of the “greatest supporters of Trump.”

Enter Chuba Hubbard.  One of the top running backs in the country a year ago, Hubbard eschewed early entry into the NFL draft to return to the Cowboys for one more season.  On Twitter Monday afternoon, Hubbard ripped his head coach for wearing the OAN shirt.  The back also indicated that he won’t be participating in anything involving OSU, including voluntary on-campus workouts, presumably, until change is made.

What change he’s seeking is unclear.

“I will not stand for this,” Hubbard wrote. “This is completely insensitive to everything going on in society, and it’s unacceptable. I will not be doing anything with Oklahoma State until things CHANGE.”

At least one of Hubbard’s teammates has his back.

Gundy has previously sang the praises of OAN.

It was so refreshing. They just report the news. There’s no commentary. There’s no opinions. There’s no left. There’s no right.”

Thus far, there’s been no comment from the Oklahoma State football program.

Trevor Lawrence, Clemson players lead hundreds in march for equality

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Members of the Clemson University football team led hundreds of demonstrators on the school’s campus Saturday as they marched for equality and against police brutality toward African Americans.

The demonstration included a moment of silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time prosecutors say George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was pinned to the ground under a white Minneapolis police officer’s knee before he died last month.

“This is a historic time, and a challenging time,” head football coach Dabo Swinney told the crowd during a speech. “But as I tell my team all the time, challenge is what creates change. … Black lives more than matter — Black lives significantly matter and equally matter. For far too long that has not been the case for the Black community.”

The protest was organized by quarterback Trevor Lawrence, linebacker Mike Jones Jr., wide receiver Cornell Powell and running back Darien Rencher, according to news outlets.

The march came a day after Clemson trustees voted to rename its honors college, stripping from the program the name of former vice president and slavery proponent John C. Calhoun.

Calhoun, who was born in South Carolina, declared slavery a “positive good” on the U.S. Senate floor in 1837.

Prior to the administrators’ vote, an online petition by students calling for the name to be changed drew more than 20,000 signatures. Clemson football alumni and onetime Houston Texans teammates DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson voiced support for the petition on social media.

Dabo Swinney publicly addresses controversies involving his Clemson program for first time

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Dabo Swinney is attempting to flip the script of what’s been a less-than-positive past few days for his Clemson football program.

As college coaches across the country were speaking out in the wake of George Floyd‘s murder, Swinney, one of the most powerful head coaches in the nation, was criticized for staying silent as long as he did.  Early last week, longtime Tigers assistant coach Danny Pearman apologized for repeating “a racial slur I overheard when trying to stop the word from being used on the practice field” three years ago. Ex-Clemson offensive tackle Shaquille Anthony subsequently stated that he was disappointed Swinney didn’t address the controversy involving his assistant. Then, there was the “Football Matters” t-shirt imbroglio.

Through it all, Swinney had stayed silent since.  Until now.

Monday evening, Clemson posted a 14-minute video of Dabo Swinney addressing the various issues that have slammed into program. In that video, Swinney addressed the N-word controversy involving Pearman.  According to the head coach, there are two words he absolutely won’t tolerate: the N-word and g ddamn.

“I would fire a coach immediately if he called a player the N-word,” Swinney stated.  It should be noted that the assistant wasn’t accused of calling a player the racial epithet; rather, he repeated.  Which Pearman admitted.  Swinney also acknowledged that Pearman repeated it, and that he shouldn’t have.

Swinney also addressed the wardrobe flap.  The coach was photographed recently wearing a shirt with the National Football Foundation slogan “Football Matters” emblazoned on it.  Some thought it was a subtle shot at the Black Lives Matter movement.  Swinney stated that’s not even remotely the case.

“Any insinuation that I was trying to mock the Black Lives movement, the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s just an attack on my character. Just an attack on my character.  And really sad,” Dabo Swinney stated.

Clemson also posted some of Swinney’s words to go along with the video:

ON SUPPORTING POSITIVE CHANGE:
“This is a historic time in our world and in our country, and as a coach and as a team, we will do our part to create positive change against racism of any kind, social injustice and police brutality.

I always have believed that actions are a lot louder than words, and I love our team for the actions that they have already taken with a great town hall meeting and lots of communication in our position meetings. We had a wonderful senior meeting last week with just great discussion and it was just awesome to see and hear our young men speak, and just wonderful brotherly love. We’ve got a team meeting coming up and many other things, so I’m proud of the actions that our guys have already taken.

We’re just a football program and I’m just a football coach, but Clemson has been a leader on and off the field for the past decade, and we will continue to be a leader and a light for many. We are a unified football team and we will work to unify others by how we serve, by how we play the game and by how we do our jobs as a staff.

We have always had great leadership within our program and, man, this team is no different. It has been incredible to see this brilliant group of young people lead right now, and [I’m] so proud of them. This group of leaders on this team, they are ready to lead the way to being a part of the solution for this country.

I stand with my players and I will help them any way I can to unify people and help create positive change.”

ON THE PATH FORWARD:
“We will continue to communicate and continue to get better. We have much more work to do, but we have taken a lot of action over the past decade to help create change for our players and our community, and we will continue to do that.

This is a historic time – a historic time — and the time for change is now in so many areas that have affected our black players and their families for many, many years. And again, we’re just a football program, but we will do our part to create great change in this world. God bless you.”