The University of Florida is doing away from one of its most popular chants at sporting events.
In a Thursday letter to the UF community that was titled “Another Step Toward Positive Change Against Racism,” University of Florida president W. Kent Fuchs outlined a number of changes the school will be making in response to the social justice movement. One of them is to no longer have the Florida band lead the “Gator Bait” chant at sporting events. While Fuchs said he is confident the chant was never meant to be racist, the cheer is being nixed due to the “horrific historic racist imagery” associated with it.
The University of Florida’s president announced in a letter today that the FU band will no longer be leading the ‘Gator Bait’ cheer at games pic.twitter.com/lcWpI5kI2m
— Steve DelVecchio (@SteveDelSports) June 18, 2020
A video that was shared on Twitter last year and retweeted more than 6,000 times called for the “Gator Bait” chant to stop, claiming it has racist connotations.
The awful truth behind the University of Florida's racist "Gator Bait" chant. This needs to stop! pic.twitter.com/6nDUYjHdnF
— Peej (@SeminolePeej) June 25, 2019
You can see a video of the Florida band leading the “Gator Bait” chant below:
Former Florida defensive back Lawrence Wright, who is black, is credited with making the “Gator Bait” chant popular. During a celebration after the Gators won the national championship in 1996, Wright pepped fans up by telling them “If you ain’t a Gator, you must be Gator bait!” He returned to lead the same cheer several years later.