This week, Clemson players took to social media, where they highlighted the hypocrisy of head coach Dabo Swinney claiming that the school's football program promotes unity. They did so by highlighting an incident where Pearman called a player the N-word.
"Cap, you allowed a coach to call a player the N-word during practice with no repercussions. Not even a team apology," former player, Kanyon Tuttle, said in a quote tweet containing Swinney's comments. "When we had the sit-in in front of sikes you suggested us players try to stay out of it to limit distractions. Stop protecting your brand, take a stand."
The incident in question happened during a heated exchange between Pearman—a white tight-ends and special teams coach—and former black tight-end, D.J. Greenlee. Greenlee confirmed the story to The State newspaper on Tuesday.
"It was just a heated argument during practice, basically," Greenlee explained. "Me and the coach got into it, and I was speaking with one of my teammates. He heard me use the N-word, basically, and basically tried to correct me by saying the N-word back."
Once his transgression came to the light, Pearman decided to ask for forgiveness by issuing an apology.
"Three years ago on the practice field, I made a grave mistake involving D.J. Greenlee," he said in a statement released by the school. "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."
Greenlee echoed this when he spoke to The State, telling the publication that Pearman "wasn't saying that I was a N-word." The tight-end also claimed that Pearman issued him an apology after speaking directly to Coach Swinney.
The same year this interaction took place, Swinney and Pearman would lead the Clemson Tigers to a National Championship.