The Univ. of Florida is pulling the plug on its famous “Gator Bait” chant … with the school’s president saying its racist ties make it no longer acceptable for UF to use.
In a statement released Thursday … President Kent Fuchs axed the popular cheer — which has been screamed by thousands of fans weekly during Gators college football games over the years.
“While I know of no evidence of racism associated with our ‘Gator Bait’ cheer at UF sporting events,” Fuchs said, “there is horrific historic racist imagery associated with the phrase.”
“Accordingly University Athletics and the Gator Band will discontinue the use of the cheer.”
If you’re unfamiliar … America’s past use of “gator bait” truly is disturbing — reportedly, white men would use African-American babies to lure gators out of swamps so they could hunt them more easily for their skin.
At UF sporting events … the band would play some tunes and pause so the entire crowd could chant in unison, “Gator Bait!”
Fuchs said in addition to stopping all that … the school will take even more steps to ensure racial justice — vowing to remove any UF-controlled “monuments or namings” that have ties to the Confederacy.
The school president also said the Univ. of Florida will no longer receive labor from inmates … adding, “the symbolism of inmate labor is incompatible with our university.”
“It is past time for UF to commit and engage in this challenging, uncomfortable, transformational work,” Fuchs said. “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.”
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