The cancel culture has finally reached the world of college football, with the University of Florida being the first victim.
As with all college sports, the audience and school bands have fight songs and chants that are used to amp up the athletes and fans. They are also used to taunt the opponents and get them off their game.
At the University of Florida, where the mascot is a gator, fans often chant “GATOR BAIT” to distract the opposing team and set the tone for their school’s team. The chant is many times followed by a riff by the band and provides camaraderie for the students, spectators, and athletes. In a statement posted earlier today, the University of Florida joined the cancel culture by announcing that the tradition is now banned at all future sporting events.
WOW @UF. So even though the phase has “no evidence of racism associated with it,” we are going to eliminate it?!
This is a new low in political correctness.#CancelCulturehttps://t.co/I5hxFac269 pic.twitter.com/DuFphyhczX
— Anthony Sabatini (@AnthonySabatini) June 18, 2020
GOP State Representative Anthony Sabatini, a two-time graduate of University of Florida, called the move “irrational.”
“Universities like UF should be standing up to irrational political correctness by reasserting that context should always matter in the use of language and any phrase — instead they are erratically practicing cancel-culture to appear WOKE.”
The outrage over the chant is based on some obscure conspiracy theory that African-American children were allegedly fed to gators and that is where the term “gator bait” came from. However, Lawrence Wright, an African-American alumnus of the University of Florida who played for the team during their first national championship, decried the move and has demanded a meeting with University of Florida President Ken Fuchs according to Gator Sports.
“The Gator Nation is a culture, too,” said Wright, who is Black. “It’s not about what happened way back in the past. How about our culture?
“Me and the president need to sit down and talk about this.”
Wright did receive a call from a University Athletic Association official to inform him of the decision.
“I’m not going for it,” said Wright, who won the Jim Thorpe Award for the nation’s best defensive back in 1996. “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.
Judson Sapp, a candidate for congress in Florida’s 3rd congressional district, told TGP that UF “fans will not submit to this bullying.”
“The University of Florida should not cater to loony liberals by erasing history. I doubt fans and boosters will submit to bullying by the Left, I know I won’t. GATOR BAIT.”