Once again, Dabo's open faith is creating a potential distraction at Clemson. The Clemson coach, whose Christian beliefs have never been a secret, has recently come under fire for his planned fundraising speech for the Palmetto Family Council. Normally this would not be news, Dabo has spoken in front of many religious groups before, but the mission statement of the Palmetto Family Council is rather unsettling. The mission is:
Our vision is to transform the culture in South Carolina by promoting the values and virtues of marriage, the traditional family model, and sexual purity.
This seems like some standard Christian organization, but the potential problem comes from the founder of the Palmetto Family Council,G. Steven Suits. Dr. Suits was an author of South Carolina's Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage. Though the organization is involved in many other areas such as domestic abuse prevention, child abuse, and domestic violence among others, their anti-gay stance is rather extreme.
Ignoring personal beliefs on either side of the issue, this is almost certainly a losing scenario for Dabo and Clemson. Public opinion regarding same sex marriage has been shifting with increasing regularity and it is hard to believe that incidents like this will not end up hurting Clemson with recruits. Opposing coaches will have an opportunity to paint Dabo, and Clemson by extension, as intolerant and bigoted.
As for Clemson University, this is merely another black eye towards the goal of becoming one of the top research universities in the country. While the news may not gain mainstream attraction, little incidents like this will continue to harm the school's reputation. Clemson has already had a rough year with the death of a student during a fraternity event, the controversy surrounding Tillman Hall, and now Dabo has added another problem to the school's list.
Hopefully Dabo will head any possible issues off by cancelling his appearance in front of the Palmetto Family Council. Even if his fundraising appearance is for one of their more important programs, there are better organizations that could use the time and donations from one of the most notable public figures in the state of South Carolina.