U of F gives up 'inappropriate' penalty chant
Florida Gators fans noticed something missing from last Saturday’s home football game, during which the band neglected to play a tune triggering a popular penalty chant.
The reason for the omission was revealed Monday, when Jay Watkins, the UF Associate Director of Athletic Bands, told WUFT that he had been instructed not to play the melody because of complaints that some fans have made up their own version of the accompanying chant.
For the past ten years, the school band has struck up a certain tune whenever the opposing team is flagged for a penalty, with the intent of signaling the crowd to take up a taunting chant of “You Can’t Do That.” Some fans, however, apparently found that wording a little too tame for the often-intense rivalries of college football, and determined that “Move Back You Suck” would be more fitting.
“The reason why it’s been stopped is because there have been too many complaints from fans to the athletic department that the student section was saying something else that the fans thought was vulgar and inappropriate,” Watkins explained. “This is a frustrating situation for all and a perfect example of how a few complaints or a few individuals doing the wrong thing negatively affect a great 10-year tradition.”
The decision has generated mixed reviews, with some in the UF community arguing that the chant is a popular tradition that is well within commonly-accepted bounds of propriety, while others applaud the university for promoting good sportsmanship.
“I am personally disappointed that we are not being allowed to play a song that has been a band tradition for years,” Gator band member Andrew Popp told WUFT. “I know the band loves playing it and the fans love hearing it.”
UF graduate Dan Thompson, conversely, told the station that he has always thought the chant was “childish and immature,” and asserted that “The [University Athletic Association] and the University of Florida have a responsibility to protect themselves and their image.”
Spokespersons for the University of Florida did not respond by press time to requests for comment from Campus Reform.
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