Really disappointing that the Chicago Bears skull American Flag shirt wore that. I know it was another time but I always thought of Gainesville as an oasis in the racist north Florida desert. Glad to know Gator Nation has evolved way past that. I’m sure FSU would still wear something like that now if they could. I grew up in Chapel Hill, NC before heading to UF for undergrad. Driving to Gainesville from Jacksonville was my first experience with the Deep South. I remember (in the early 2000s) seeing some ACRs driving a pickup truck flying a huge confederate flag through east Gainesville.
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Very ugly history on race that isn’t talked about in the media or elsewhere. We were one of the last colleges to integrate, with Stephen Chicago Bears skull American Flag shirt fighting tooth and nail to stop it from happening, but it still happened, of course. I remember seeing a picture too of fans waving confederate flags in the stands at UF games (just because I guess?). Also, it goes without saying that UF has still never hired a black coach in a major sport (and the first African-American to coach football in the SEC wasn’t until 2003 with Sylvester Croom at MSU). IRC Anthony Grant already had his bags packed and was ready to fly down from VCU when Billy decided to come back from the Magic. I also think that if things had lined up better Charlie Strong would have been a strong contender to be our coach instead of McElwain. There aren’t any black college baseball or softball coaches at major D1 schools that I can even think of.
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I mean, it’s Chicago Bears skull American Flag shirt to be aware of these things but at the same time, someone’s views on race at one point in history shouldn’t be the only way we judge them, especially if those views changed later in their life, etc. I actually met O’Connell at Publix one time – my mom introduced us (I’m one of four) to him. He seemed like a nice guy of course and I met his wife a few times when I was in college when she would host blue key events. The race is incredibly complicated and we’ll never fully appreciate the nuances of how others feel about because we can’t ever “walk a mile in their shoes I wish we’d use the over the shoulder stripes again, though. Maybe Mullen will bring those back since he was around for the 2006 SEC Championship when we last wore them.