The current national discourse around race and the Black Lives Matter movement has emboldened a wave of new star athletes to speak up. Among the first was Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
The Tigers rising junior released a strong statement late last month, in the wake of the death of George Floyd. “The black community needs our help,” Lawrence wrote on Twitter. “They have been unheard for far too long. Open your ears, listen, and speak. This isn’t politics. This is human rights.”
Trevor Lawrence has helped lead the conversation at Clemson, along with linebacker Mike Jones Jr., who is among the organizers of Saturday's player-led protest on campus. It would be very easy for him to shy away from a cause like this, but instead he's meeting it head-on.
Today, Lawrence, Jones Jr., Cornell Powell, and Darien Rencher spoke to the media about the upcoming demonstration. Echoing recent comments by Patrick Mahomes, Lawrence isn't here to "shut up and play" or "stick to sports."
That is a strong message that underlines this entire situation. Just because someone's living is made in the entertainment world—whether they're athletes, musicians, actors, or anything else—doesn't mean that they are not entitled to speak out, especially when a subject is as crucial as this one.
The demonstration is set to begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday at the school's Bowman Field.
Among the major Clemson-specific issues that is being addressed is the ongoing legacy of former slave owner and pro-slavery politician John C. Calhoun on campus. Former Tiger superstars Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins have already publicly supported the removal of his name from buildings and programs.