Florida Ending ‘Gator Bait’ Cheer, Band Performance Due to Racist Past

Gator Bait
Getty Images/Mike Zarrilli

The University of Florida has decided to put an end to its “Gator Bait” chant, due to what the school claims is the  “historic racist imagery associated with the phrase.”

University of Florida President Ken Fuchs announced the measure a s a part of the university’s effort to combat racism.

“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 explained. “Accordingly, University Athletics and the Gator Band will discontinue the use of the cheer.”

Gators fans shout “Gator Bait” after the band plays the tune associated with the chant. Then, in what has become one of the most instantly recognizable images in sports, fans perform a chomping motion with their arms.

As ESPN reports:

African American babies were used as alligator bait, according to the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University, citing newspaper articles and imagery from the late 1800s and early 20th century. The term “alligator bait” was also used as a racial slur against African Americans.

Georgia, Florida’s chief SEC East rival, announced on Thursday that their band will no longer play Tara’s Theme. A tune that was played during the classic Gone With the Wind, which HBO Max recently pulled off its service but promised to return after adding “warning” labels and a clip explaining “historical context.”

Followed Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn

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