Culture

Wait. 'Gator Bait' Is Racist Now?!

The family of Andrew Chatfield gesture after Chatfield signed with the University of Florida on national signing day in Plantation, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. From left are Candy Diggs, Tiaunte Diggs and Lamont Green. (Taimy Alvarez/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

On Thursday, University of Florida President Kent Fuchs announced that the Florida Gators will no longer use the famous “Gator Bait” chant. He has ordered that the Gator Band and anyone associated with the university’s athletic association must avoid the chant.

“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 in an email to the student body, 247 Sports reported. “Accordingly University Athletics and the Gator Band will discontinue the use of the cheer.”

The iconic “Gator Bait” cheer comes after a quick band intro. Fans chomp twice with their arms and cheer, “Gator Bait!” This chant designates the opposing team as a losing team, warning that they are about to get “chomped” by the Gators.

The discontinuation of the chant comes in a long list of reforms regarding race.

As the destruction of the George Floyd riots has largely subsided, leftists have launched a new coordinated Cancel Culture. A soccer player got fired for his wife’s tweet, a church lost its lease over a pastor “liking” supposedly insensitive tweets, and New York Times op-ed editor James Bennet stepped down amid outrage that he published an op-ed by a U.S. senator, among many other examples. Some have even targeted black celebrities for refusing to toe the line when it comes to the institutional racism narrative.

Yet the “Gator Bait” cancelation may be among the worst and most petty. Fuchs did not explain the “horrific racist imagery” supposedly associated with the chant. It seems he merely sought out an excuse to make an absurd gesture. In doing so, he is robbing UF’s culture to appease an angry mob. It seems far more likely this decision will incite an angry mob … of Gators.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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