- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 18, 2020

The University of Florida will no longer allow its “Gator Bait” cheer at school-sanctioned sporting events due to the “horrific historic racist imagery associated with the phrase,” the school announced Thursday.

University President Kent Fuchs announced the move as part of a university-wide review to help the school take steps against racism in the wake of the George Floyd protests.

“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,” Mr. Fuchs said in a letter to the UF community. “Accordingly University Athletics and the Gator Band will discontinue the use of the cheer.”

The cheer entails fans doing the famous “Gator Chomp” gesture while chanting “Gator Bait!” along with the band.

According to the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University in Michigan, the term “alligator bait” was used as a racial slur against African Americans and some black babies may have even been used as actual alligator bait, ESPN reported.

Lawrence Wright, a black member of the 1996 national championship team who famously uttered the phrase, “If you ain’t a Gator, ya Gator bait, baby,” after a win against Florida State, said he was outraged the university made the decision without consulting him first.

“I created something for us. It’s a college football thing. It’s not a racist thing, It’s about us, the Gator Nation. And I’m Black,” Mr. Wright told The Gainesville Sun. “What about our history as the Gator Nation? We took a program from the top five to No. 1 in the country. I think I’ve done enough, put in the sweat and tears, to get to offer my opinion about something like this.”

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