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SEC Commissioner Sankey reacts to MS state flag being changed

Earlier in the week, Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill rocked the college football world after he gave his stance on the current state flag of Mississippi. The flag, which includes imagery of the old Confederate Battle Flag, offends Hill so much that he has decided he’ll boycott representing the state of Mississippi on the football field until the flag is changed.

“Either change the flag or I won’t be representing this State anymore & I meant that .. I’m tired,” Hill wrote in a tweet.

On Sunday, Hill’s wish came true when the Mississippi state legislature passed a bill to remove the Confederate emblem from their flag. After the referendum passed, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement on the state’s decision.

“I am proud of our universities’ leadership, and the engagement of student-athletes and coaches in the efforts to change the State of Mississippi flag,” the statement read. “The agreement to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the flag is a positive and appropriate action, and I applaud the Mississippi House of Representatives and Senate for today’s action. I am also grateful for Governor Reeves’ openness to sign a bill to change the flag. As I have frequently said, our students deserve the opportunity to learn and compete in welcoming environments. Today’s action is welcomed in the spirit of this goal.”

Sankey had previously supported efforts to change the state flag, even going as far as to threaten postseason championship events in Mississippi if it didn’t change.

“It is past time for change to be made to the flag of the State of Mississippi. Our students deserve an opportunity to learn and compete in environments that are inclusive and welcoming to all,” Sankey said in a statement released on Twitter. “In the event there is no change, there will be consideration of precluding Southeastern Conference championship events from being conducted in the State of Mississippi until the state flag is changed.”

The SEC is a busy conference when it comes to this subject of eliminating traditions and symbols with racist pasts. According to an ESPN report, acting Georgia band director Brett Bawcum has notified music school officials that the band will no longer be performing, “Tara’s Theme,” which was from the 1939 film, “Gone with the Wind,” after games. Instead, the band will be playing, “Georgia on My Mind.”

According to John Ridley, the maker of, “Gone with the Wind,” the film ignores, “the horrors of slavery,” and it also perpetuates, “some of the most painful stereotypes of people of color.”

“Though the tradition has been under discussion for months within the band, the current social media climate has highlighted the urgency of addressing it and made me conscious of the message that could be interpreted by delay,” Bawcum wrote in his letter, according to AJC.com. “To be clear, the issue with the tradition is not the motivation of those who have embraced it, but rather the possibilities it may limit in those who haven’t. I value tradition, but I value creating a welcoming environment much more.”

Florida, meanwhile, said it would discontinue the “Gator Bait” chant at games.

University President Kent Fuchs announced in a letter to the UF community on Thursday.

“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. Accordingly, University Athletics and the Gator Band will discontinue the use of the cheer.”

The cheer has frequently been used after a quick band intro, followed by fans chomping twice with their arms and cheering “Gator Bait.”

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