People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals recently sent a letter to University of South Carolina president John Palms asking him to drop the Gamecocks nickname from the university. USC’s football team is receiving a lot of national attention for its 5-1 record, and apparently PETA decided to try to piggyback on that publicity.
In its letter, PETA spokesman Kristie Phelps wrote that, “Like spousal abuse, bank robbery and driving while intoxicated, cockfighting is illegal in South Carolina.” She told The State that, “It’s a safe bet that officials at the University of South Carolina would never dream of calling their athletic teams the Dogfighters, the Wifebeaters, the Looters or the Road-Ragers.”
And what would PETA suggest as an alternative name? “The Gym Socks or the Pet Rocks or anything that doesn’t perpetuate animal cruelty. The Gamecocks can score points for kindness; they can be champions of compassion.”
A spokesman for USC responded by saying, “We can’t imagine there would be any interest by the Carolina community in changing the name of their mascot.”
PETA also sent a letter to Jacksonville State University in Alabama which also uses the Gamecock nickname. JSU president Bill Meehan told The State, “We have no plans to change at this time, and there is no movement in the student body to change.”
Animal rights group targets Gamecock. Jeff Wilkinson, The State (South Carolina), October 17, 2001.
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