Danny Pearman responded Tuesday after a former Clemson player said the assistant coach used a racial slur during practice.
Former Tiger Kanyon Tuttle replied earlier Tuesday on Twitter to Clemson's message against racism by saying the team allowed a coach to call a player the N-word.
Pearman said in a statement that the incident took place three years ago, but that he didn't direct the slur at any player in particular.
"Three years ago on the practice field, I made a grave mistake involving D.J. Greenlee," Pearman said, according to Will Vandervort of The Clemson Insider. "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."
Pearman said he apologized to Greenlee after practice and that the player brought the incident to head coach Dabo Swinney's attention.
"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 said.