Gator Band Will No Longer Use Penalty Chant

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Florida Gators football
Florida fans react during a third-down defensive play against Tennessee. Greenberry Taylor / WUFT News

During Saturday’s game against Tennessee, Gator fans expected to hear the familiar cue from the band to initiate the “You Can’t Do That” chant.

Instead, they got silence.

Jay Watkins, the UF Associate Director of Athletic Bands, said the University Athletic Association told the band to stop playing the tune, one it usually plays when a penalty is called on the opposing team, because it had received a number of negative e-mails about the accompanying chant morphing into “Move back you suck.”

After the first complaint this season the UAA decided not to play something that could encourage what could be viewed as bad sportsmanship, he said.

“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 said.

“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.”

But the decision to scrap the chant has also generated complaints from University of Florida students when the band wouldn’t accompany the chant at last Saturday’s game.

“I am personally disappointed that we are not being allowed to play a song that has been a band tradition for years,” said Andrew Popp, a member of the Gator band. “I know the band loves playing it and the fans love hearing it.”

But at least one person wasn’t complaining.

Dan Thompson, a 2010 UF graduate who worked in football recruiting for three years as a student, said he first heard the chant in 2012 and in 2013.

“I was confused on where the chant came from and certainly, not only did I not like it,  I thought it was childish and immature.”

Also, said Thompson: “The UAA and the University of Florida have a responsibility to protect themselves and their image.”

Watkins says he is not sure if the song is gone permanently. However, he does not anticipate the band will be playing it anytime soon. There is currently no planned replacement for the song.

About Amanda Brennan

Amanda is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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