TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A day after the University of Florida banned its “Gator Bait” cheer, a former player at rival Florida State University wants to change the name of the Seminoles’ football stadium.
Kendrick Scott, who played linebacker for the Seminoles from 1991 to 1994, has started a petition to rename Doak S. Campbell Stadium, which was named for FSU’s first president, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
Campbell guided the school in its transition from the Florida State College for Women in 1947. The stadium was named for him in 1950, the newspaper reported.
Scott said Campbell’s pro-segregationist stance is the reason for his petition.
“In reflection his noninclusive views of blacks as a segregationist is divisive,” Scott wrote. “Therefore, his name should be removed from a stadium that has been home to many Black football players helping to build the school and the tradition to what it has become today: a national treasure.”
Scott suggests the stadium be renamed for former football coach Bobby Bowden, who led the Seminoles to a pair of national championships during his 34-year career at FSU (1976-2009). Scott said the field, currently named for Bowden, should be renamed in honor of former quarterback Charlie Ward, who led the Seminoles to their first national title in 1993 and won the Heisman Trophy the same year.
“Charlie Ward was recently polled at the greatest Seminole of all time and rightfully so,” Scott, who was a teammate of Ward and played for Bowden, wrote in his petition. “He broke a modern-day color barrier by being the first Black football player to win a Heisman Trophy at a Florida school. He remains the most decorated college football player in history.”
Campbell was inducted into the FSU Hall of Fame in 1977, and there is no mention of his pro-segregation stance on the biography found on the school website. Florida State had no comment on the petition, ESPN reported.
In an email to the Democrat, Scott said he grew up in a home “with two social activists,” referring to his parents.
“My dad is a descendant of Rosewood, where the infamous massacre of blacks happened, which was depicted in a movie by John Singleton,” Scott said.
The recent deaths of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks have provided a spark against racism, and Scott believes his petition is a step in the right direction.
“Our efforts are to make sure that our university is leading the charge in these efforts to become more inclusive and diverse in nature,” Scott told the Democrat. “We want to show all stakeholders, those past and present along with those who may be considering our university that we value differences and different perspectives.”
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