Following the death of George Floyd, awareness for racial injustices and police brutality has increased in the United States. Many college football programs have made changes to part ways with logos or acts that are attributed to racism, and the Florida Gators are the latest to step up.
On Thursday, Florida president Kent Fuchs says the "Gator Bait" chant will no longer take place at games.
"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 wrote in an official statement. "Accordingly University Athletics and the Gator Band will discontinue the use of the cheer."
The chant usually took place following the band's introduction, where fans "chomped" twice with their arms while cheering "Gator Bait." This particular cheer was used in the direction of the Gators' opponents and rival fans, but it's a derogatory term that's been used towards African Americans in the past. Former NFL cornerback and ESPN analyst Dominique Foxworth called for the removal of the term and chant back in a 2016 article for The Undefeated.
Fuchs said that this is one of many steps that the university will take to address racism. Other prominent ideas suggested by the university president include removing any monuments and renaming buildings that celebrate the Confederacy and its leaders.
It's a step in the right direction for the Gators football program, who are looking to find solutions in the fight for equality.