75ºF

Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins rally for removal of slave owner’s name at Clemson’s honor college

The college is named after John C. Calhoun, who was a slave owner

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 23:  Quarterback Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans celebrates his touchdown with teammate wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins #10 against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on December 23, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 23: Quarterback Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans celebrates his touchdown with teammate wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins #10 against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on December 23, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) (2018 Getty Images)

HOUSTON – In the wake of Houston native George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, many athletes are speaking up about racism.

One of the issues people are taking up are monuments, buildings, and spaces dedicated at many colleges and universities to men who owned slaves, such as John C. Calhoun. Clemson University’s honors college is named after Calhoun, and the campus was built on his plantation.

Deandre Hopkins, who attended Clemson and played seven seasons in Houston, took his message to Instagram and Twitter, revealing that the history of his school is why he doesn’t mention Clemson in his NFL introductions.

“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," Hopkins wrote on Instagram. "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

Deshaun Watson, also a former Clemson Tiger, supported as well via Twitter.

“Clemson University should not honor slave owner John C. Calhoun in any way," Watson wrote. "His name should be removed from all University property and programming. I am joining the students, faculty & DeAndre to restart this petition to rename the Calhoun Honors College.”

According to Clemson’s website, “Anna Maria Calhoun Clemson willed her three-fourths share of Fort Hill to her husband, Thomas Clemson, with the caveat that he must die with a will. At Anna’s death in 1875, Thomas worked with two attorneys, James Rion and Richard Wright Simpson, to create his bequest that became Clemson University.”

The petition to change the name is here:

https://www.change.org/p/calhoun-honors-leadership-and-clemson-leadership-rename-calhoun-honors-college-at-clemson