Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was given the microphone on Saturday during a protest that he and a couple of his teammates helped organize on campus. The rally was set to follow the lead of others held around the country in remembrance of George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis police in May.
In front of the crowd, Lawrence spoke of the importance of discomfort in this moment, and how he's grown as a person throughout this moment in history while listening to, and learning from, teammates' experiences.
"The past few weeks, I've been uncomfortable," Lawrence told the on-campus crowd. "That word 'uncomfortable' will be an important one in all of our steps in our journey to bring equality. I've learned that every truly good thing in life comes from being brave and stepping into the uncomfortable. It's uncomfortable to set aside everything I know about America and listen to someone else's perspective. However, it's necessary.
"I've learned a lot in this past month," he continued. "There's three main things that I'm learning. I'm learning to listen more; I'm learning that listening is usually more valuable than talking. You learn when you listen and you begin to understand when you listen. I'm learning to try and put myself in the shoes of those who are in pain. Empathy and compassion will be vital as we take the right steps towards reconciliation."
Lawrence waded into the waters of "uncomfortable" topics such as racial inequality and justice in late May, when he set out a pair of tweets alluding to discrimination that his teammates experience.
I’m siding with my brothers that deal, and continuously deal, with things I will never experience. The injustice is clear.. and so is the hate. It can no longer be explained away. If you’re still “explaining” it - check your heart and ask why.— Trevor Lawrence (@Trevorlawrencee) May 29, 2020