Over the past couple days, news outlets have been clamoring about Dabo Swinney's scheduled speaking engagement at an event hosted by the Palmetto Family Council. In case you've been living under a rock, the Palmetto Family Council is a conservative group that has vocally opposed gay marriage rights.
Yesterday, Dabo (whose faith has been attacked publicly in the past) stated that he had made a decision to not take part in the event. "After much thought, in order to avoid a distraction for the team and the entire football program, I've decided it is in the best interests of all involved that I not attend the event on June 2," Swinney told the Huffington Post.
This morning, Swinney hopped on Sirius XM Sports Nation and talked about the decision, and his advice is something all coaches, and others in the public spotlight, should see.
"You have to be careful what you get your name associated with. It's unfortunate for the issue that became a distraction," he explained. "You just live and learn. As far as the way I live my life, I just try to be a good coach, a good husband, and a good father."
While it looks like Dabo is taking the politically correct high road here, he has a good point. As coaches, and public figures that represent far more than just ourselves, you do need to be aware of what you associate your name with - regardless of what your personal views are. The events of this past week for Swinney provide an excellent blueprint of exactly that.