Florida Bans 'Gator Bait' Chant Due to 'Horrific Racist Imagery' Associated

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJune 18, 2020

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 13:  A helmet of the Florida Gators rests on the sideline during a game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Vanderbilt Stadium on October 13, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

University of Florida fans will no longer be permitted to participate in the "Gator Bait" cheer that has become so common at the school's sporting events.

As Andrea Adelson of ESPN shared, university president Kent Fuchs announced the decision to ban the cheer came because of the "historic racist imagery associated with the phrase." TMZ Sports noted Fuchs is also planning to remove "monuments or namings" with ties to the Confederacy from the school.

"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," Fuchs said. "Accordingly, University Athletics and the Gator Band will discontinue the use of the cheer."

Adelson cited the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University, which notes the term "alligator bait" was used as a racial slur against black people. 

This is not the only decision to change things with respect to a renewed focus on fighting against racism from an SEC East team.

The University of Georgia Redcoat Band announced in a letter from acting director Brett Bawcum that it will not play "Tara's Theme" at games anymore:

UGA Redcoat Band @UGARedcoatBand

Please see a message to the Redcoat Band community from acting director Brett Bawcum. https://t.co/RqGBwrOsOy

The song is used as the opening music of the Gone With the Wind, which takes place in the antebellum South.

Decisions such as the ones from Florida and Georgia come as much of the national conversation is focused on systemic racism and police brutality following the killing of black man George Floyd on May 25 by police that sparked worldwide protests that have continued for weeks.