Former FSU football player creates petition to rename Doak Campbell Stadium
Florida State's football stadium has sported the same name for 70 years.
But that name is now being called into question.
Doak S. Campbell Stadium was named after FSU's first president in 1950. Campbell oversaw the transition FSU made from the Florida State College for Women in 1947, in addition to the building of the stadium.
Former FSU linebacker Kendrick Scott (1991-1994) has created a petition to remove Campbell's name from the stadium due to Campbell's pro-segregation stance while he was president at FSU.
The petition states:
"The stadium at FSU was named after Doak Campbell a former FSU President. While, the tradition has been preserved, in reflection his non inclusive views of blacks as a segregationist is divisive, 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.
"Therefore, this petition seeks to change the name of the stadium to the Bobby Bowden Stadium and change Bobby Bowden field to Charlie Ward field. Charlie Ward was recently polled as the greatest Seminole of all time and rightfully so. 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."
The stadium is not the first FSU building to come under fire due to this issue.
The Florida Senate voted in favor of renaming FSU's B.K. Roberts Hall in 2019. The building was named for former Florida Supreme Court Justice B.K. Roberts Roberts, but his pro-segregation stance has pushed the building's name into the spotlight. Roberts Hall is the main academic building for the FSU College of Law.
Gov. Fuller Warren, left, congratulates FSU president Doak Campbell upon the 1950 opening of the football stadium named for Campbell. Future Florida Gov. Reubin Askew is in the back row, framed between Warren and Campbell.
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It has not been passed by the Florida House of Representatives, which did not take up the legislation in 2019. FSU issued this statement to the Democrat last week.
“Florida State University's position has not changed on removing B.K Roberts' name from the College of Law building. We, together with our students, will pursue legislative bill sponsors again on this issue for the 2021 Legislative Session in March,” FSU’s Associate Vice President for University Relations Kathleen Daly said.
Scott was not the only FSU player to support changing the stadium's name from Doak Campbell. Former FSU fullback Freddie Stevenson posted to Twitter Thursday that the name needed to be changed.
"Time to change the name of Doak Campbell Stadium. We can find way better representation than this!" Stevenson stated.
He also linked photos from a Tampa Morning Tribune article posted in 1957 that quotes Campbell discussing banning white FSU students from attending desegregation meetings. He also discusses banning the Florida Flambeau from posting pro-desegregation editorials.
To see the full petition click here. With a goal of 100 signatures, the change.org petition picked up 20 signatures in the first hours of being online.
Florida State's football team – along with coaches from many other FSU athletic teams – led a Unity Walk Saturday in protest of the recent killings of Black men and women by police. FSU officials, including Athletic Director David Coburn, took part in the march from the Unconquered statue outside Campbell Stadium to the capitol building.
This story originally published to tallahassee.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the USA TODAY Network - Florida.