For years now, people have known Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence was a special player and his accomplishments on the field speak for themselves. But what the entire nation is now beginning to see is the poised signal caller and National Champion can also have an incredible impact off the field as well.
Trevor Lawrence emerged as one of the faces of college football after leading the Tigers to a perfect 16-0 record and 2018 National Championship. He followed that up last fall with a 15-1 mark before the Tigers fell to LSU in the Championship game. Lawrence is truly a remarkable player that has a very bright future ahead in the NFL. Look no further than the #TankForTrevor trends that began after his freshman season.
But before any of that, he still has some time left to shine as an “amateur” athlete at Clemson and he’s using his platform for seemingly all the right reasons while representing his team, school, and college football as a whole very admirably.
As rumblings of a cancelled 2020 football season continue to gain momentum following the cancellation of the Mid-American Conference football docket, Lawrence has voiced his commitment to playing this fall and become the voice of a movement for college football players and their desires overall. He’s challenging everyone to do their part in an effort to keep this season alive.
Every year at the start of fall camp, Clemson players collectively decide to sign off on social media for the season–a decision initiated by the players, not head coach Dabo Swinney as widely believed.
But 2020 is unlike any other year and this time around, players are staying more connected and using their social media accounts to rally together.
From Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables’ son, Clemson LB Jake Venables, to defensive lineman K.J. Henry, linebacker James Skalski, veteran wide receiver Amari Rodgers and running back Darien Rencher, the Tigers are sounding off and pushing for the 2020 season to be salvaged amidst strong inclination that it is destined to be cancelled.
However, they are far from the only ones taking to twitter to unite college football players. We’ve also heard from Ohio State’s Justin Fields, LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase, Ole Miss John Rhys Plumlee, Miami’s Deriq King and countless others all joining on the #WeWantToPlay hashtag on twitter.
As rumors of the BIG 10 cancelling the 2020 season spread on Monday, players continued to fight for their seasons. While some believe the BIG 10 cancellation would start the domino effect for everyone else, others don’t think the remaining Power 5 conferences would be forced to follow their lead.
Yes, we all want (and I’m willing to say NEED) college football this season. But at what cost? We don’t have one true leader and set of standards and rules to follow like professional sports do. No NBA bubble to keep players isolated and safer.
Remember how we began seeing an uptick in numbers when players got on campus. Imagine now what will happen once all other students who don’t elect to stay home for online classes return for in-person classes. How do you manage all of that and justify playing football? I don’t have those answers….not sure anyone does.
As everyone in the sport’s world chimes in, Stephen A. Smith also joined the conversation Monday morning during ESPN’s First Take and had some strong words for the executives of college football.
“The college football season should be cancelled. It should be cancelled today and I don’t take any pleasure in saying that,” Smith said. “College football in inept, incompetent and its the void of leadership, damn near morals as far as I’m concerned, and they are getting exactly what they deserve. I predict that because of what we are witnessing transpire, you will ultimately see some type of student-athlete association. You will see representation on behalf of student-athletes in the future. Because when you are a sport of this magnitude raking in hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, and you don’t have on definitive leader to lean on that has some sense of organization and structure that is definitely looking out for the student athlete…when you don’t have that going on AND the players are not being paid, you’ve got yourself a problem.
And he’s right.
One thing is for certain. Season or no season, we are in for an interesting next few months. The Covid-19 pandemic along side the growing NIL debate has initiated a new movement for players and power of their voices. Could we really be headed to some sort of player’s union within college football as we do professionally? Feels that way.
Football season or not football season….we’re going to have plenty to discuss for the foreseeable future. And whether Lawrence truly wants to be or not, he is the face of both college football and this player’s movement. It all started back with his own school’s peaceful protest which was organized by the football team on June 13.
Lawrence admitted though he must find a balance between it all when it comes to academics, football, activism and voicing his opinion and just his own personal life away from football.
“It’s cool to be part of those things with Darien Rencher and Mike Jones, Jr. They did a lot of organizing to get that set up and I was happy to be part of the protest here,” he said. “But with stuff like that I just have to ask myself is it important to me? And if it is, you know, how can I help? But other than that it’s not something I really believe in or passionate about I usually don’t get too involved. I’ve got a lot on my plate, so I try to keep it to a minimum. And even with things I do care more about sometimes you have to know when it’s too much and that you can’t be the face of everything.”