University of Florida to Do Away With 'Gator Bait' Chant
Video provided by Sports Illustrated All-American.
The vintage 'Gator Bait' chant is no longer, as Florida attempts to combat racism and social injustices within the institution.
On Thursday, the University of Florida President Kent Fuchs released a statement introducing a myriad of plans to combat racism and social injustice from within the Florida campus. As part of that plan, one issue arose regarding the controversy surrounding the school's use of "Gator Bait" as a chant for their athletic events.
"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 said today.
The chant has historically been used against opponents and rival fans within the Florida campus, however, dating back before the use of the chant on campus, there have been certain racist atrocities the phrase has been used for, specifically against black communities in the early 1800s. This much has been well-documented by former NFL cornerback Domonique Foxworth.
In researching the claims made by articles and points cited by Foxworth, Snopes recently found that while black children may not have literally been used as alligator bait in the past, the racist overtones and streyotypes remained and were absolutely used and associated with that phrase.
Along with removing the chant from the team's band as part of cheer, the University will also be removing any monuments or naming under UF control that celebrates the confederacy or its leaders. The University will also aim to "redouble" efforts in support of locally-owned small businesses for more vender diversity.
"It is past time for UF to commit and engage in this challenging, uncomfortable, transformational work. We know that we cannot undo lifetimes of injustice and racism, but we believe we can make progress - in education, in advancing truth, reconciliation and justice, and in anti-racism, equality and working to eradicate inequities.
"This process will not be easy, and we will need to work together through the imperfections, missteps and complications that always accompany change."
Florida has shown dedication to change within the campus, and while the change may be unpopular, there are historical reasons for doing such and the University wants to create a positive in a world of negative.
The University is one of the many institutions within America to change their policies due to the growing protests surrounding 'Black Lives Matter' and the alleged murder of Minnesota man George Floyd along with plenty of others. Florida has been one of the leaders of change and inclusion during this time as many have spoken out in support of the movement.