June 9, 2020 / 4:20 PM / a month ago

Watson, Hopkins call for name change at Clemson

NFL Football - Houston Texans v Jacksonville Jaguars - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - November 3, 2019 Houston Texans' Deshaun Watson at the end of the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins are joining with students and fellow alumni at Clemson in calling for the university to remove the name of John C. Calhoun from its honors college.

“I want to bring up something that has been bothering me for a long time in my community,” Hopkins wrote on Instagram. “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.”

Calhoun was a proponent of slavery and served as vice president of the United States under two presidents from 1825-1832.

Clemson stands on the grounds of Calhoun’s former Fort Hill plantation. Clemson’s website states Calhoun enslaved at least 70 African Americans.

Hopkins and Watson were teammates for three years in the NFL with the Houston Texans. Hopkins was traded this offseason to the Arizona Cardinals.

In February, students announced a petition for Clemson University to remove Calhoun’s name from the honors college.

“Clemson University should not honor slave owner John C. Calhoun in any way,” Watson said via Twitter. “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.”

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