Two ex-Clemson players claimed a white assistant coach used the n-word during a 2017 Tigers practice ... and now, the guy has fessed up to using the racial slur -- and has issued an apology.
"Three years ago on the practice field, I made a grave mistake involving D.J. Greenlee," said Danny Pearman, a 55-year-old, white assistant head coach on Dabo Swinney's staff.
"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."
Here's the backstory .. former Clemson player Kanyon Tuttle on Tuesday claimed Swinney "allowed a coach to call a player the N-word during practice with no repercussions."
Cap, you allowed a coach to call a player the N-word during practice with no repercussions. Not even a team apology. 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 https://t.co/7gznXmyniI
Tuttle's allegations were somewhat backed by former Tigers tight end D.J. Greenlee, who explained the whole situation in an in-depth interview with The State.
Greenlee says he had missed a blocking assignment on a play ... and had a conversation with Pearman about it. Greenlee says when he broke it all down to his fellow teammate Milan Richard, he used the n-word himself.
“[Milan] was asking me what happened? ‘What’s coach getting on to you about?’” Greenlee said. “I was just like, ‘Man I got the [n-word] that came in my gap.’ I was talking to my teammate."
"That was all that was said. Then the next thing you know coach Pearman starts coming over there. He was repeating what I just said. He’s like, ‘[n-word] this, [n-word] that. The [n-word] wasn’t there.’”
Greenlee emphasized Pearman did NOT call him the n-word, but rather just repeated what he had said.
D.J. said he believes Swinney had a talk with the coach about the incident ... and he claims Pearman also later apologized for it.
For his part, Pearman added in his statement Tuesday, "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."
Pearman continued, "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."
Swinney -- who condemned police brutality and social injustice on Monday in his first meeting with reporters since George Floyd's death -- has yet to comment on the situation.