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Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins Join Petition At Clemson University

DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson watch Clemson at the national championship.

SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07: Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins of the Houston Texans look on prior to the CFP National Championship between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers presented by AT&T at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson are two of the most influential Clemson alumni in the world. This week, they're using their voices and platforms to try and spur change at their alma mater.

Among the most significant people in Clemson University history is John C. Calhoun, the former Vice President under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. He was an outspoken pro-slavery politician and slave owner.

The school is built on Calhoun's old plantation. His legacy remains deeply ingrained in the culture at Clemson, with buildings and and programs named after him. That is a huge sticking point for many Clemson students, faculty, and alumni.

"As we watch everything happening in the world, I want to bring up something that has been bothering me for a long time in my community," DeAndre Hopkins wrote on Instagram, in a post about the Calhoun issue. "Clemson University still honors the name of well known slave owner and pro-slavery politician John C. Calhoun on its buildings, signs, and in the name of its honors program. 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."

His former quarterback with the Houston Texans and fellow Clemson great Deshaun Watson has thrown his support behind the cause. "His name should be removed from all University property and programming," Watson says.

Hopkins and Watson are two true NFL superstars, with serious sway. They have plenty of influence, especially if Clemson worries about losing their aid and support down the road. The fact that Hopkins has shied away from publicly acknowledging his alma mater during NFL games because of this is definitely notable.

The Clemson football program is facing plenty of its own issues as we work through these nationwide issues of race. This could be a monumental summer for the Tigers football team, and the school as a whole.

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As we watch everything happening in the world, I want to bring up something that has been bothering me for a long time in my community. Clemson University still honors the name of well known slave owner and pro-slavery politician John C. Calhoun on its buildings, signs, and in the name of its honors program. 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. I am joining the voices of the students and faculty who have restarted this petition to rename the Calhoun Honors College. I urge all Clemson students, football players, and alumni to join us, so the next generation of young Black leaders can be proud of the institution they graduate from. Now is the time for change. Please help us by signing and sharing this petition here: tinyurl.com/calhounpetition

A post shared by @ deandrehopkins on Jun 8, 2020 at 1:51pm PDT

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