Exclusive from The Root, January 29, 2019
The Root spoke with three black Clemson players who each separately confirmed that many players, both black and white, had no interest in making the trip. All three acknowledged that Donald Trump was the reason they chose not to attend. Even more telling, most of Clemson’s white players were in attendance while nearly three-fourths of the school’s black football players took a hard pass on the chance to eat cold fries with the president of people who eat salads from McDonald’s.
“It wasn’t like we had a team meeting or anything,” said one of Clemson’s offensive stars who spoke with The Root on the condition of anonymity. “Players were talking amongst each other but everybody was like: ‘I’m not going to that.’”
Another defensive standout noted that coaches didn’t pressure players to accompany the team to Washington, D.C., but said that almost every black player he knew didn’t want to take the trip. However, he noted that he knew that some players only attended because they worried that refusing to attend the traditional White House visit might affect their scholarships or playing time.
“Not saying anything against the players who went,” the junior explained, “but if you look at who went—freshman and people fighting for playing time—you’ll see what I’m talking about.”
In total, 15 of the University’s black players listed on the school’s official roster attended the White House visit, the vast majority of whom (11) were freshmen or sophomores who had very little playing time during the season. Just one senior made the trip and only six of the players in attendance were even listed on Clemson’s national championship depth chart. There are at least 57 black student-athletes on Clemson’s official team roster, which means 74 percent of Clemson’s African-American players chose not to make the trip to the White House.
In an email to The Root, Joe Galbraith, Clemson’s associate vice president for strategic communications, said approximately two-thirds of Clemson’s players attended Happy Mealopalooza. ...
Read full exclusive report at The Root