Florida to discontinue popular ‘Gator Bait’ chant at sporting events

Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida: Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium has undergone a series of facelifts since being constructed in 1930, but every college football fan knows which team plays in "The Swamp." The home of the Florida Gators is the largest stadium in the state, with an official capacity of 88,548. The stadium was recently renamed to honor former head coach Steve Spurrier during a 2016 ceremony. (Tim Casey/UAA)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Citing the “horrific racist imagery associated with the phrase,” the University of Florida will no longer use the popular “Gator Bait” chant during athletic events, school president Kent Fuchs announced on Thursday.

There is no racial element to the popular cheer, Fuchs said, but alluded to negative and racist history with the image that the words “Gator Bait” projects. There are numerous references, including this report from the Miami New Times, that have cited that African American babies were used as alligator bait.

“While I know of no evidence of racism associated with our “Gator Bait” cheer at UF sporting events, there is horrific historic racist imagery associated with the phrase. Accordingly University Athletics and the Gator Band will discontinue the use of the cheer,” Fuchs wrote.

Fuchs also said that he was “personally committed” to ridding the campus of any Confederate monuments or markers.

“I am personally committed to removing any monuments or namings that UF can control that celebrate the Confederacy or its leaders,” Fuchs wrote.

You can Fuchs’ post in its entirety here.

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