MIAMI GARDENS, FL – JANUARY 04: DeAndre Hopkins #6 of the Clemson Tigers gestures on the field against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Arizona Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins revealed Tuesday that he doesn’t represent himself as a product of Clemson University in pregame NFL introductions because of the school’s continued promotion of a pro-slavery politician from the 1800s.
Posting to his Instagram account, Hopkins asked followers to sign a petition for Clemson to rename its honors college and remove mentions on campus of former United States vice president John C. Calhoun.
“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.
“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.”
The biography of Calhoun on Clemson’s website describes Calhoun as a pro-slavery politician.
Hopkins has been outspoken about confronting racial issues since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police set off nationwide protests to stop police brutality and racism.
The Cardinals receiver last week revealed that he wears the No. 10 on his jersey as an NFL player for the 10 years a cousin spent in prison due to a $600 drugs charge — such is a sign of the disparity in prison time that white and black people face.
Along with his call to rename the Calhoun Honors College at Clemson, Hopkins on Tuesday asked his Twitter followers to learn more about Benjamin Tillman, a former senator and South Carolina governor who Clemson named one of its most famous buildings after.