On Tuesday afternoon, it came to light that Clemson football assistant coach Danny Pearman used a racial slur at practice three years ago. 

In response, Pearman issued a public statement late Tuesday night: 

“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."

The incident surfaced earlier on Tuesday when former Clemson walk-on wide receiver Kanyton Tuttle tweeted in response to Dabo Swinney’s Monday comments about social injustice: “You allowed a coach to call a player the n-word during practice with no repercussions. ... I will never understand why it was never addressed.”

Former Tigers tight end D.J. Greenlee later interviewed with Matt Connolly of The State about the incident. 

That practice exchange happened in front of the entire team, Greenlee said.

“It was just a heated argument during practice, basically," Greenlee told The State. "He heard me use the n-word basically, and basically tried to correct me by saying the n-word back. He wasn’t saying that I was a n-word." 

Pearman's titles at Clemson include assistant head coach, tight ends coach and special teams coach. He joined the Clemson staff in December 2008. Pearman played tight end on Clemson’s 1986 and 1987 ACC title teams, then served as a graduate assistant on the Tigers’ 1988 ACC Championship team.