South Carolina AD Ray Tanner calls for removal of Confederate flag

USC athletic director Ray Tanner has called for the removal of the Confederate flag from Statehouse grounds in Columbia (File photo)

In the wake of the shootings at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner has lent his voice to those calling for the removal of the Confederate flag on the Statehouse grounds in Columbia.

Tanner sent out this post on Twitter on Monday: “It is time to remove the flag. We are ONE!! #CharlestonStrong #Gamecocks.”

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on Monday asked the state legislature to remove the Confederate glag from Statehouse grounds.

USC football coach Steve Spurrier has long been on record against flying the flag on Statehouse grounds.

In 2007, Spurrier said, “If anybody were to ever ask me about that damn Confederate flag, I would say we need to get rid of it. I’ve been told not to talk about that. But if anyone were ever to ask me about it, I certainly wish we could get rid of it.”

USC president Harris Pastides also has called for the flag to come down. Gamecocks basketball coach Frank Martin added his voice, tweeting “I applaud and support @RayTannerSC ... proud to 2 stand with u.”

Former Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw chimed in with this on Twitter:

“Any flag that contradicts everything our Country flag represents, it shouldn’t fly. We ALL stand united.”

In 2000, a quartet of USC and Clemson coaches -- Lou Holtz and Eddie Fogler for the Gamecocks, and Tommy Bowden and Larry Shyatt for the Tigers -- marched in protests against the Confederate flag flying on top of the Statehouse dome. Tennis star Serena Williams once boycotted the Family Circle Cup when it was on Hilton Head Island for the same reason.