Clemson's Dabo Swinney, Trevor Lawrence expected to lead on-campus protest Saturday

Zoe Nicholson
Greenville News

Members of the Clemson football team are leading a demonstration Saturday, according to Clemson City Administer Andy Blondeau. 

The event is expected to take place at 6 p.m. EST at Bowman Field and draw a crowd of at least 2,000 people, Blondeau told Clemson's economic development advisory committee, which is made up of several downtown Clemson merchants. 

"Dabo (Swinney) 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 committee Tuesday.

The protest is student-led and not an official university event, Clemson Athletics 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. 

Rencher, who played at T.L. Hanna High School in Anderson, and Lawrence have been vocally supportive on Twitter of the Black Lives Matter movement and the peaceful protests sweeping the nation in the wake of George Floyd's death last month. 

Blondeau told the committee that the university officials reached out to the city and provided details about Saturday's demonstration. 

"I just found out about it this morning," he told the committee. 

More:Dabo defends his handling of assistant's use of racial slur

Clemson University Police will be on hand to monitor the peaceful protest, Student Affairs Communications Director Philip Sikes told The Greenville News Tuesday. 

"As a university, we're gathering details on how to best support the event," Sikes said. 

The demonstration comes on the heels of national protests against police brutality and systemic racism, spurred by the killing of Floyd, a black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

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.

Swinney on June 8 issued a video message in response.