Texas University Ditches ‘Come and Take It’ Phrase
For the last six years, the University of Texas at San Antonio's (UTSA) athletics department has embraced the 'Come and Take It' phrase. During the fourth quarter of home football games, a giant 'Come and Take It' flag with the Road Runners logo instead of a cannon was unveiled in the student section.
2011 was the first time UTSA used the Come and Take It phrase. They were hoping to inspire the team and fans, according to 247sports. The tradition was officially adopted in 2016:
The idea was first raised in 2011 in tandem with the debut of our Division 1 football program. A staff member in Athletics, turning to the historic Texas Revolutionary Battle of 1836 in Gonzales, Texas, felt the historical context around the Come and Take It phrase would offer an inspirational call for our fans and a direct challenge to our opponents.
But now, officials at UTSA believe 'Come and Take It' is associated with more than just the Battle of Gonzales. In fact, after the grand opening of a new athletics building in August, an online petition came out calling for the sign, flag and phrase of 'Come and Take It' be removed because the phrase was an "offensive slogan steeped in racist history."
UTSA's president Taylor Eighmy didn't go that far when announcing the end of the phrase's use, but instead said that it had become a "distraction" and that some groups that don't align with the values of the university had adopted the phrase:
Over the last decade, the phrase has become increasingly affiliated with cultural and political issues beyond its traditional historical context. In the time since it was last used at a home game on November 23, 2019, the phrase has been adopted by organizations and movements across the political spectrum. A simple online search of webpages, articles and images involving this phrase reveals the myriad of ways numerous organizations have adopted it for their particular cause. Many of these organizations have values and agendas that differ significantly from ours and our clear focus on excellence in intercollegiate athletics and higher education.
Since the opening of our Roadrunner Athletics Center of Excellence on August 4th, I have seen this issue raise deep emotions both for and against, and even seen divisive vitriol. I especially recognize that this decision will be unpopular with many of our loyal fans.
The phrase—as well intended as it was upon inception and adoption—has increasingly become incongruent with UTSA Athletics and our institution’s mission and core values. For our athletics program and our university—each with so much promise and upward momentum—there is no benefit to becoming embroiled in a divisive issue that could carry well into the future and negatively affect our progress.
University officials will instead look for new traditions for the athletics department instead of attempting to defend or even educate people on the phrase 'Come and Take It.' The move is being seen by some as the administration agreeing with the online petition.
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