Dabo Swinney responds to criticism of COVID-19 comments: 'I could say the sky is blue and somebody would be mad'

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(Getty Images)

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has responded to criticism he received after comments he made last week regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and his family's travel plans amid calls for social distancing.

Swinney told reporters in a conference call on Friday that America would "kick this thing right in the teeth" in time for the 2020 college football season. In the same call, he admitted he and his family had taken a private plane to vacation in Florida with potential plans to do so again for Easter.

Those comments — particularly news that he violated social distancing guidelines during a pandemic — prompted backlash for the Tigers coach. But Swinney doubled down on Monday in an interview on the SiriusXM radio show "Off Campus with Mark Packer."

MORE: Will coronavirus cancel college football in 2020?

"It doesn't matter what I say or what anybody says, there is going to be criticism," Swinney said. "It doesn't surprise me at all. You know, I could say the sky is blue and somebody would be as mad as anything. That's one thing I've learned over the years. I don't get affected by that. I just speak my heart.

"I just answered the question the other day. That is the other thing. You answer questions and you try to be honest and transparent and you answer questions, and then you get blasted because somebody might not agree with your answer or something like that."

Swinney isn't the only college football coach to have voiced an opinion on college football and COVID-19. Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy on Monday said he hoped to be back to business as usual on May 1, saying his players are "healthy and have the ability to fight the virus off."

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly also said to "let the scientists determine" whether college football can be played (responding to Kirk Herbstreit's comments that he'd be "shocked" if the season occurred at all).

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