Mar 9, 2017
Press Release

GAINESVILLE—The city of Gainesville recently renamed Touchdown Drive to Deshaun Watson Way in order to honor the athlete from Gainesville High School, who led the Clemson Tigers to a national championship earlier this year.

The new street sign appears on a side road leading to the high school and features white text on a red background as a nod to Gainesville’s school colors.

Last week, the federal Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Highway Administration sent the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) an email citing a code that “specifies the color of highway signs” and noted that Gainesville’s new sign is not in compliance with the code. The notice informed GDOT that a “failure to comply with the [code] jeopardizes the future of federal funding” for the city.

“The DOT’s decision to respond to a small city’s celebratory act by threatening to withdraw its federal funding is an egregious example of abuse at the hands of federal bureaucrats. As many sections of our nation’s infrastructure are in disrepair, I am amazed that the DOT has prioritized targeting the entranceway of a local school,” said Congressman Doug Collins, who is the U.S. Representative for Gainesville.

Gainesville’s Mayor Danny Dunagan believes the DOT could have approached the issue more delicately.

“A nicer approach would have been to give our city 30 days’ notice to replace the sign before pursuing the nuclear option of federal defunding. Deshaun is a fine, upstanding member of our community and one of the greatest football players of our generation. Our intent was simply to honor him at the entry to our school,”explained Dunagan.

“The DOT’s approach to this issue is inappropriate, and I only hope it was not driven by Crimson Tide sympathies,” added Collins.

A picture of the sign is available here: