This has clearly weighed on him for a while
Clemson’s Memorial Stadium sits just a literal stone’s throw away from a historic building called Fort Hill. The building, which is now a library and museum, was the former plantation home of John C. Calhoun, a former senator and vice president, and a staunch defender of slavery whose property was donated to build the college after his death.
The school is named after Thomas Green Clemson, Calhoun’s son-in-law (and a former Confederate soldier), who inherited Calhoun’s plantation and designated the land to be used for an agricultural college in his will. But Calhoun’s name is still all over the campus, including on the Calhoun Honors College.
A petition seeking to change the name of the college was signed by over 250 students in early 2019, but in the wake of the ongoing national discussion about racial injustice, a public petition has been circulating that has gained over 8,300 signatures. Former Clemson stars Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins lent their support to the cause.
Though this is the first time the former teammates have spoken out, it’s clear that the school’s honoring of Calhoun has weighed on Hopkins for quite some time, so much so that he declines to mention Clemson when introducing himself before primetime games.
“I felt this oppressive figure during my time at Clemson and purposely do not mention the University’s name before NFL games because of it,” Hopkins wrote on Instagram.
(Hopkins instead mentions his former high school, D.W. Daniel.)
Hopkins also revealed last week that the reason he wears No. 10 is because he has a cousin who was sentenced to 10 years in jail for a petty drug charge.
I’m glad Hopkins is speaking out about these issues and using his platform to make people aware of them. I remembered enough from history class to know that Calhoun was a bad guy (honestly, one look at a photo of the guy should be enough to know he was evil) but I had no idea that Clemson was built on his land and that the school named the honors program after him in 1981. That’s why it’s important for athletes to use their influence to enact change.
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A good song
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