Clemson Head Coach Brad Brownell Under Fire, But Should He Be?

Clemson head basketball coach Brad Brownell has come under fire again recently over alleged incidents between he and a former walk-on.

Mark Struthers McBride, the father of former Clemson basketball walk-on O’Neil McBride, has taken to social media several times since the alleged incident and has posted multiple videos stating that his son has left the basketball program with three years of eligibility remaining. All because, according to him, his son had gotten to the point where he could not put up with the abuse from Brownell any longer.

This alleged incident dates back to March when the former walk-on’s father is accusing Brownell of bullying and abusing his son by way of cursing at him and another former walk-on in front of the rest of the team during a practice. Telling them that he would give them both bad references if a company that was looking at hiring either of them called, and accusing the two along with the rest of the scout team for the team’s loss to Miami in the ACC tournament this year. The latest video and his others are available to the public on McBride’s Facebook page.

Though you may not be one for using curse words to get a point across it would be naive to think that this isn’t being done, even at Clemson. Even Dabo Swinney, back in March of 2020, admitted to using curse words. Even though he stated he tries to keep it to the three used in the Bible he also made it clear too that he is human and slips up from time to time. We all remember Swinney dressing down former punter Andy Teasdall for several minutes in the ACC Championship Game.

This is not just happening at Clemson either. Duke head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski is well-known for it. An article written by ESPN’s Tim Keown addressed it back in February 2011.

In the video McBride also brings up the fact that the Tigers are losing players to the transfer portal and blames it on Brownell yet the fact also remains that players are now jumping into the transfer portal all across the country and Clemson has been a team that has benefited from that same portal with players like Nick Honor and David Collins. Not to mention many programs are generally losing players to transfer at a much higher clip than the Tigers.

One of the players that McBride claims transferred out because of Brownell is Clyde Trapp. What’s really strange here is the fact that back in March of this year Trapp had this to say about Brownell in an article by the Post and Courier defending him…

“If people were to sit there and talk to coach Brownell, they would figure out he’s human, like, he’s a great man. He wants the best for every single player on the team, from the star player to the walk-on.”

Clyde Trapp on Brownell

This would make many question whether Trapp was just lying about his former coach loving every player including the walk-ons or whether McBride’s account isn’t completely accurate about players, including Trapp, leaving because of the way Brownell treats them.

McBride accused Brownell of verbally attacking his son and the other walk-on at practice but the only reasoning he gave was that supposedly Brownell was upset about something. He did not go into what could have made the head coach that mad. This would make some question whether there is more to the story what the rest might be.

McBride also made it sound as though his son and some others were better players yet they never had a shot because the coaches weren’t going to play them in games since they were walk-ons. He used different times that he claimed the first and/or second string teams in practice yet did not get a shot to play in games. This would lead most to believe, if true, that Brownell and the Clemson coaching staff has not been playing their best players.

Keep in mind that no player has accused Brownell of any misconduct or filed any complaints against him, including McBride. The University did issue a statement on Sunday and it stated:

“Athletics administrators were made aware of an interaction that took place in early March between Coach Brownell and members of the team. While no formal complaint was filed by any member of the program, Clemson Athletic Administration took the matter seriously, spoke with the parent and met with Coach Brownell and the student-athlete. The matter is considered resolved.”

The Clemson athletic department’s statement on the alleged incident between head coach Brad Brownell and players from back in March 2021

Whether you like Brownell or hate that he’s still the Tigers head coach there are just too many unanswered questions in this story. We are hearing just one side.

In more than a decade no other players have made any similar complaints publicly. In fact, it has been the polar opposite. Players routinely back Brownell. This has the feel of an upset parent whining over his son’s spilled milk.

It also could be looked at like McBride realized that none of the allegations appeared to be enough to warrant even so much as a reprimand by the University much less the firing of Brownell and hence the reason he took to social media instead of accepting the finding by the Athletic Department.

Want to be unhappy about the progress the basketball team has made under Brownell’s watch, that argument can be made. However, if you’re calling for his dismissal because of this allegation, you have to call for every other coach that curses at players to be dismissed. If it’s wrong for one, it’s wrong for all.

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