DeAndre Hopkins doesn't name Clemson in player intros because of slavery advocate associated with school

As nationwide protests demand a shift in American race relations, DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson are using the moment to call for change at their former college.

They used their platforms to advocate for the removal of a slave supporter’s name at an honors building at Clemson on Monday. They tweeted a petition started by Clemson student Roann Abdeladl demanding the removal of former U.S. Vice President John C. Calhoun’s name from the school’s Calhoun Honors College.

Calhoun’s push for slavery in U.S. government

Calhoun served as the seventh vice president of the United States from 1825-32 and also represented South Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. He was a slave owner and staunch advocate of slavery.

“Slavery is indispensable to a republican government,” Calhoun is quoted as saying.

The petition points to Calhoun’s stance on slavery in contrast to Clemson president James P. Clements’ vow to not tolerate racism “in any form.”

“As students, alumni, faculty, staff, friends, and fans of Clemson University and the Calhoun Honors College, we demand that the University — without further delays or excuses — remove John C. Calhoun’s name from one of our most distinguished academic programs. Calhoun, who on the floor of the U.S. Senate advocated for the expansion of slavery as a “positive good,” exemplifies institutional racism and white supremacy.

DeAndre Hopkins supported a petition calling for the removal of a former U.S. vice president's name at a Clemson program. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Getty Images)

Why Hopkins doesn’t acknowledge Clemson

Hopkins also linked to the petition on his Instagram page while explaining that the school’s continued use of Calhoun’s name is the reason he doesn’t acknowledge Clemson during pregame introductions on NFL broadcasts. Instead, Hopkins names Daniel High School, his South Carolina alma mater.

“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,” Hopkins wrote. “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.”

Hopkins played three seasons at Clemson from 2010-12 before the Houston Texans selected him in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft.

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