DeAndre Hopkins, Deshaun Watson call on Clemson to remove John C. Calhoun's name from college over slavery ties

DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson called on Clemson University to remove a college named after former Vice President John C. Calhoun because of his ties to slavery.

Calhoun served as vice president under Presidents John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, and was a U.S. senator from South Carolina who later served as the secretary of defense. Calhoun strongly favored slavery during the 1800s and viewed it as a “positive good.” He also enslaved around 80 African-Americans, according to a biography on the school’s website.

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Calhoun Honors College at Clemson University encourages students to attend study abroad programs and perform undergraduate research.

“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 wrote in an Instagram post. “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.”

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Watson also voiced his concerns.

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

Both players, who played football at Clemson, encouraged their followers to sign a Change.org petition urging school officials to remove Calhoun’s name from the building.

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Hopkins and Watson were also teammates on the Houston Texans until a few months ago. The Texans traded Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals.