Clemson special teams coordinator Danny Pearman released a statement Tuesday night after former Tigers football player Kanyon Tuttle took head coach Dabo Swinney to task earlier in the day on Twitter contending that an assistant coach called a player "the N-word during practice with no repercussions."
Tuttle didn't identify the coach or player in the incident, but former Clemson tight end D.J. Greenlee told The State newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, that the incident occurred between himself and Pearman during a practice.
Pearman's statement read: "Three years ago on the practice field, I made a grave mistake involving D.J. Greenlee. I repeated a racial slur I overheard when trying to stop the word from being used on the practice field. What I overheard, I had no right to repeat. While I did not direct the term at any player, I know there is no excuse for me using the language in any circumstance. I never should have repeated the phrase. It was wrong when I said it, and it is wrong today.
"I apologized to D.J. at the conclusion of practice, who then appropriately raised his concern to Coach Swinney. Coach and I met to discuss the incident, and he reiterated that my language was unacceptable. I later apologized again as well as expressed my sincere regret to our position group the following day. I love the young men who choose to come to our university, and I would never do anything to intentionally hurt them. I sincerely apologize to D.J., his family, our team and our staff."
Greenlee was a member of the Clemson football team from 2013-17. Kanyon Tuttle — whose father Perry was a star player on Clemson's first national championship team in 1981 — was a member of the team in 2016 and 2017.
Pearman, who played on Clemson's ACC title teams of 1986 and 1987, joined the program's coaching staff under Swinney in December 2008.
Contributing: Dan Wolken.