Dabo Swinney is listening to his players, and the Clemson head coach said it is time everyone else does the same.
“I am embarrassed to say that there are things on this campus that I really did not understand. I knew the basics, but not the details. But I have learned, and I have listened,” Swinney said Saturday at the Clemson Community Peaceful Demonstration at Bowman Field.
Swinney joined his football players and 3,000 others for a peaceful march through campus in their stance against racial injustice and police brutality. The demonstration came a day after Clemson’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted to remove the name of John C. Calhoun from the honors college, while also agreeing to send a request to the South Carolina General Assembly to remove Ben Tillman’s name from Tillman Hall.
Swinney says what got his attention on the namesake of both Clemson institutions was the social media post from former Clemson greats Deandre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson. Both signed a petition last week and demanded on their social media platforms Clemson remove the names of Calhoun and Tillman.
“Two of our best players had the courage to speak out, along with so many beautiful students on this campus about their concerns, their feelings about buildings on this campus,” the Clemson coach said. “Nuk Hopkins will always be remembered for his amazing career and fourth and sixteen [against LSU]. Deshaun Watson will always be remembered for his fearless leadership and how he led us to our first national championship in 35 years.
“They both brought us a lot of joy to Clemson. We should no longer expect them or our players to hear our cheers if we do not hear their cries.”
Swinney supports Hopkins, Watson, and black American former and current players, as well as staffers in the program. He now knows more than he did, and he now is trying to do his part to help them change the world by getting their messages and stories out.
“I always tell our team that you can create change from the inside out. If you want the world to change around us, we have to start doing what is right for Clemson,” he said.
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