***UPDATE- On Monday running back Darien Rencher told the media that the social media policy was in fact changed this season.
There hasn’t been a lot of good that has happened in 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, the riots following, “Murder hornets”, etc. With all that has happened this year fans could use any positives they can get at this point.
A few weeks back Clemson fans got to see just what their football team was made up of and what their players were all about when the team, led by Darien Rencher, Mike Jones, Jr, Trevor Lawrence, and others, had a peaceful march and protest for what they felt were social injustices across the country.
There were those that felt that college athletes having a public voice was a bad sign of what was to come. Now these same voices are the ones being used to attempt to get the powers that be to allow college football to be played this fall.
College athletes are finally realizing that they have a voice and while some may question that voice, no one can say that these players don’t have a right to speak. Many of them also want to play this fall and they are making it known on social media.
For instance, over most of the last decade, August 1st traditionally has stood as a day that saw Clemson players signing off of social media in order to concentrate on their upcoming season. A decision made by the Tigers senior classes from year to year. That is not the case this season though. Many Clemson players have taken to twitter to beg and plead with the men and women paid to lead them. The hashtag #LetThemPlay has been trending for more than a day.
Clemson players like Trevor Lawrence, Darien Rencher, Mike Jones, Jr, Cornell Powell, Amari Rodgers and many others have started uniting with other players across the country. Ohio State’s Justin Fields, Alabama’s Najee Harris, along with many others have joined in the #WeAreUnited movement and the #WeWantToPlay movement.
Lawrence himself has been a huge spokesperson for this movement. He has even been labeled by some as the “voice of college football.” He posted late Sunday on social media six things the group is seeking:
- Playing football this season.
- Establishing universal mandated health and safety procedures and protocols to protect college-athletes against COVID-19 among all conferences throughout the NCAA.
- Give players the opporunity to opt out and respect their decision.
- Guarantee eligibility whether a player chooses to play the season or not.
- Use student’s voices to establish open communication and trust between players and officials: ultimately create a college football players association.
- Have a representative of the players of all Power 5 conferences.
Clemson running back Darien Rencher posted on social media that he and Lawrence were on Zoom calls with representatives from all Power 5 conferences coming up with these key points.
Some have already started claiming that these points are the same as the ones that players from the Pac12 were demanding last month. It absolutely is not. Those players were demanding 50% of the revenue brought in so there is a big difference there.
All of this started after reports stated coming out on Sunday that the Big Ten was pushing to cancel its fall sports and the other Power-5 conferences would probably follow them in doing so. The Big Ten has now in fact done just that, but there are multiple reports that the ACC, SEC, and Big-12 all plan to push forward.
The #WeAreUnited movement debuted with the PAC-12 conference players and then the Big 10 over more rights for athletes. It’s not just football players that are joining the movement either. Coaches from Louisville, Virginia Tech, Arkansas, Michigan, and even former Clemson Co-Offensive Coordinator and current South Florida head coach Jeff Scott has posted via twitter that he fully supports his players and stands proudly with his players.
Many associate intelligence with age, but Lawrence and his Clemson teammates are showing through their platform that age is nothing but a number. That they are smart enough to decide for themselves how to move forward safely and effectively.
Even though these players voices are probably falling on deaf ears, they are using their platforms in the manner that just shows what type of young men they are and the leaders that they are developing into.
These young men are evidence that Tiger fans have a lot to be proud of, on and off of the football field. Now we see if anyone listens to them.