Dabo vs. Florida State

COVID-19 beef.

Jim Rome
November 25, 2020 - 10:57 am
Dabo Swinney

USA Today


Clemson was supposed to play Florida State on Saturday. That game was postponed Saturday morning due to a positive test from a Clemson player. But that was not the end of the controversy that was just the start.

According to reports, Clemson traveled to Florida for the game with a player who had exhibited Covid symptoms during the week, but did not test positive until after the team arrived in Tallahassee.

Then, according to The Athletic, on Saturday morning, just before 9am, the ACC announced the game would be postponed. That decision came after an early morning conference call “at which time both teams’ medical personnel were unable to mutually agree on moving forward with the game.”

Both teams have an open date on December 12th, so Clemson flies back home and they just agree to show up again in a couple weeks and everything’s cool, right?

Not even close. Instead, what has ensued is a multi-day war of words unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. You see, Clemson is pretty BENT   that the game was postponed just a few hours before kickoff. And Dabo Swinney is pretty clear that he believes the decision not to play the game wasn’t about the virus, it was about something else. And although he didn’t come right out and say it, it’s pretty clear, he thinks fsu was using virus as a way to get out of a nice, swift ass kicking. And he was pissed when it happened. And he still pissed a day later.

There is an absolute ton there – there’s a circus tent, Covid, and so much more. But let me read one part back to you again: "This game was not canceled because of COVID. COVID was just an excuse to cancel the game…I have no doubt their players wanted to play and would have played. And same with the coaches. To me, the Florida State administration forfeited the game."

Boom! Have some, Florida State administration. Dabo just effectively called you a bunch of cowards. That’s not even straight fire, that’s total napalm. Saying that a school is using a virus TO GET OUT OF AN ASS KICKING IS SOMETHING ELSE.  .

I can see both sides. I just didn’t see the “using COVID to get out of a beating” argument coming.

AND apparently neither did FSU head Coach Mike Norvell who didn’t appreciate it all, saying Monday,  “Football coaches are not doctors. Some of us might think we are, but there’s a reason why medical advisers make decisions based on the information that is provided. It’s unfortunate that opportunity has been delayed, but there’s a reason people making those decisions have that responsibility.”

But Swinney wasn’t done. He had more to say on the matter himself. And if you were thinking he was going to come off his point, think again: “The last thing we would ever do is put somebody in harm’s way. And it’s an insult to the credibility of our program, the credibility of our medical people. And we all agreed to the same rules, and just magically those rules changed on Saturday morning.”

My man is not coming off his point: he’s sticking to the script. The script being, if they were looking for a way out of a beating, they found it.  Even they had to make up new rules right before that beating start to get out of it.  I’ve never seen dabo some bent about anything: and it wasn’t like he had cooled off either after a day or two: he just kept coming, adding,

“I don’t give a crap what they say. I know what the facts are. I know what the standard to play is. I know why the rosters were expanded, because we anticipated positives on Friday. So we said we needed to take more players. The only thing that was going to cancel a game is if you got below 53 scholarship players, you didn’t have at least seven scholarship offensive linemen, or your local community was overrun with hospitals, etc. Etc. And other than that you play the game.”

And at one point he threw in this line: “it’s a bunch of hogwash.”

So we’ve got an “I don’t give a crap” and “it’s a bunch of hogwash.” And it is tremendous.  We may have to riding dump button the next Dabo comes in here.

Look, I get why Dabo is pissed. Traveling to an away game is not a small endeavor. It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and takes an enormous amount of time. So does following Covid protocol. And Clemson did both of those things and then got a positive test on Friday and it results in the game being postponed on Saturday.

So even if the game is rescheduled, they’re out the time and money for the trip. That sucks. That’s extremely frustrating.

But, that is also life in a pandemic. When you’re trying to play a college football season in the middle of a pandemic that has taken a quarter of a million lives, there are going to be some moments of frustration.

I get where Dabo is coming from. And I get where FSU is coming from. What if they said, sure, let’s go ahead and play, and then they have an outbreak on their team after this game? How are the medical personnel and administrators going to live with themselves after that?

And I really don’t think this is about FSU trying to avoid an embarrassing loss. They’ve received an embarrassing loss nearly every time they’ve played this season. When you’re 2-6 and 5 of those losses have been by double-digits, what’s another ass-kicking? That’s not going to hurt anyone’s feelings. If anything, they’re used to it. And Dabo is talking about much this whole thing cost them: well even if FSU gets their ass kicked, they still get paid, and they’re out that jack as well. .

But Dabo still wasn’t done. On the matter of what Florida State has said about the situation, Dabo wasn’t particularly interested in their take.

"I'm not really worried about what they say down there in Tallahassee, that's for sure. I've been in this league 18 years, been a head coach [for] 12. They've had three head coaches in four years."

Holy crap. That might be the biggest shot of all.

Those guys can’t even keep a head coach around. Why don’t they fix that before they start lecturing everyone about a virus?

Just to recap: your administration is a bunch of cowards and they should forfeit the game, we did it right and it’s a bunch of crap, its hogwash, and you guys shouldn’t talk because you’ve had three head coaches in four years.

Somebody better pull Dabo off the Seminoles. Because he is hammering them worse than Miami did back in September.

That is serious heat: especially coming from who it’s coming from.

And here’s the thing – Florida State seems to be pretty open to playing the rescheduled game on December 12th. And I don’t think they’re doing that because they believe they’ll be a better team next month than they are now. More likely than not, they will still get killed that day. Just as they would’ve been this past Saturday.

Sort out the money and play the game. Just know that there is no beating that Dabo could give FSU on the field that will be worse than what he’s given the last three days.