Clemson University student-athletes plan to stage a demonstration Saturday evening at Bowman Field, according to city administrator Andy Blondeauk, who expects the event to be attended by up to 2,000 people, including Tigers head football coach Dabo Swinney.
"Dabo is going to be introducing Trevor Lawrence and Darien Rencher, who are going to be the primary speakers, from what I understand," Blondeau told members of the Clemson economic development advisory committee, made up of several downtown Clemson merchants.
As reported by the Greenville News, the protest is student-led and not an official university event, Clemson athletic department spokesperson Jeff Kallin said Tuesday. Kallin would neither confirm nor deny the event is led by football players. City police chief Jeff Stone said no permits are required for the demonstration.
Lawrence, a junior quarterback, and Rencher, a senior running back, have been vocally supportive on Twitter of the Black Lives Movement and the peaceful protests sweeping the nation in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody last month.
There has to be a shift in the way of thinking. Rational must outweigh irrational. Justice must outweigh injustice. Love must outweigh hate.— Trevor Lawrence (@Trevorlawrencee) May 29, 2020
If you put yourself in someone else’s shoes and you don’t like how it feels-that’s when you know things need to change.
A step forward https://t.co/C0R3QjyuwD— Darien Rencher (@D_Rench_) June 10, 2020
Blondeau said he was told the demonstration would march through part of downtown Clemson, so the city is planning to block off College Avenue between Highway 93 and Keith Street while they march, he said.
Clemson University Police will be on hand to monitor the peaceful protest, with assistance from Clemson City Police if needed.
At least one former Clemson player has recently criticized the handling of an incident involving Swinney and an assistant coach, who used a racial slur during a meeting with players several years ago, the Greenville News reported.