In a survey by the Gainesville agency Make It Happen, respondents were asked to answer three questions. The survey was open to the public, fans and members of GatorBait Media.com.
The first phase of introspection by GatorBaitMedia is complete and readers, customers and fans say they favor no change in the name “GatorBait” even though the cheer has been dropped by the University of Florida.
In a survey by the Gainesville agency Make It Happen, respondents were asked to answer three questions. The survey was open to the public, fans and members of GatorBait Media.com. Here are the percentages of their votes:
1. In light of current events do you believe GatorBaitMedia should change its name?
93 percent said “No.”
2. Would you like the “Gator Bait!” cheer to return to Gator football?
94 percent said “Yes.”
3. Do you support the University of Florida’s decision to have the band stop playing “Gator Bait” cheer at football games?
Only 10 percent said “Yes.”
The issue was raised when UF President Kent Fuchs announced June 18 that the cheer would be banned because of “the term’s reported racist history.”
According to The Sporting News: “… which includes printed images and unsubstantiated accounts of black babies being used as hunting lures.”
GatorBait Owner/Editor Buddy Martin said management was “taking those numbers under advisement,” but that this was only one of a three-step vetting about the cultural implications surrounding the name of the publication.
Next up, he said, will be a focus group of former Gator athletes who are African-American, headed by star tight end Ben Troupe and GatorBait Lighthouse Builder member Loren Meadows, who have agreed to pick an “Orange and Blue Ribbon” panel for future discussions.
At the conclusion, the Troupe-Meadows team will submit their findings in the form of a resolution to GatorBait Lighthouse Builders, which serves as an ex-officio board for the organization. The board’s investigation will be headed up by two prominent attorneys.
Martin said when all the research is in he will weigh it closely and make a final decision later this fall.
“We are in no hurry,” said Martin, “and we want to make sure we get it right.”
The original publication Gator Bait was given the name by owner David Stirt 41 years ago when it was founded. Stirt has said he had no knowledge whatsoever that the term had any alleged racist connection. Martin’s group purchased Gator Bait and changed the name to GatorBait in August 2019.