So much has changed in our world—and on our campus—since my last message to you less than three weeks ago. The events that took place and the demands for change that were heard gave us a window into valued-based leadership by many, and I am appreciative to be at a place with such a strong commitment to its values.
I commend our Board of Trustees and President Clements for their decisive actions last week. We must all stand for justice and equality and support any steps that make Clemson a more inclusive community.
On Saturday evening, I attended the Clemson Community Peaceful Demonstration, a march organized by four of our football student-athletes, to demand racial justice on our campus and in our country. More than 3,000 Clemson student-athletes, coaches, professors, students, alumni and administrators joined march organizers Darien Rencher, Mike Jones Jr., Cornell Powell and Trevor Lawrence in standing up for our black community and in the fight for racial justice.
There on Bowman field—the site of Clemson’s first home football game in 1898—our Clemson Family, poured out their collective hearts beneath a “Black Lives Matter” banner. To see and hear the heartfelt and honest and sometimes pained perspectives from the four student-athletes, and the personal and moving comments from Coach Swinney and from Chief Mullen, were truly memorable.
(Hear the messages below)
We are extremely grateful to all of the staff, members of law enforcement, volunteers and community members who made the event possible.
Within our athletics program the past two weeks, our administrators, coaches, staff and students have had raw and powerful conversations but more importantly, our student-athletes demanded more than words—they sought action—which is what led to Saturday’s event. I was struck by the eloquence, passion and focus of this group. It was, without a doubt, one of the most memorable days of my professional career.
We strive to provide a world-class experience for our student-athletes. We talk often about the importance of earning a degree. And we commit to developing young men and women who will make a difference in their communities. Darien, Mike, Cornell and Trevor, and so many of their fellow student-athletes have led—not followed—in recent weeks and that is what has made me so proud. They are the future and they are helping to create a better future for all of us.
As an athletics department, we acknowledge the need for change and the role that we can play in leading it.
Make no mistake: racism and discrimination of any kind or intolerance at any level has no place within Clemson Athletics, whether on the field, in the classroom, in the locker room or in the stands.
So, for you who cheer on our Tigers—who so generously donate your time and resources or who proudly state that you are a Clemson graduate—you should be proud, too.
As Darien closed his remarks on Saturday evening, he commented that, “When history records this moment, it’ll record a generation that seized the opportunity, because they refused to look away. It’s different this time.”
I hope you will join all of us in seizing the opportunity together. Thank you for your ongoing support of Clemson Athletics and IPTAY.
Dan RadakovichDirector of Athletics