Reports: Clemson football team to lead on-campus protest on Saturday

The Clemson football team will reportedly lead an on-campus protest against systemic racism on Saturday.

According to the Greenville News, the event will take place at 6 p.m. at Bowman Field on Saturday and is expected attract “at least” 2,000 people. 

Star quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Darien Rencher will reportedly be the primary speakers at the event. Per The State, wide receiver Cornell Powell and linebacker Mike Jones Jr. were also involved in organizing the event with Lawrence and Rencher. Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney is expected to be in attendance. 

Lawrence, one of the biggest names in college football and an expected top pick in the 2021 NFL draft, has been an outspoken advocate of the Black Lives Matter movement, especially in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death last month. 

The protest is entirely student-led and is not an official university event, the Greenville News is reporting. Full details, which reportedly could include a march through part of downtown Clemson, are expected to be announced on Thursday. 

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) smiles after Clemson defeated Ohio State 29-23 in the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football playoff semifinal Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Swinney, who has been the subject of criticism in recent weeks, released a nearly 14-minute video earlier this week. In his message, Swinney said he “wholeheartedly” supports Black Lives Matter. 

“I also will say that I wholeheartedly support Black Lives Matter,” Swinney said. “In fact, I don’t quite think that’s adequate enough. I think black lives significantly and equally matter. To me, Black Lives Matter is just like, ‘Hey we matter, too.’ I think black lives significantly and equally matter.”

Clemson’s football team returned to campus this week and participated in workouts beginning Monday. On Tuesday night, the team held a meeting where the subject of racial injustice was discussed. 

Elsewhere at Clemson, DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson are calling for a change at their alma mater. Hopkins and Watson were stars at Clemson and are now thriving in the NFL. In recent days, they have publicly endorsed a petition calling for the removal of former Vice President John C. Calhoun’s name from an honors building at the university. 

Calhoun was a slaveowner who was once quoted as saying, “slavery is indispensable to the republican government.”

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