Marist College is changing its mascot’s name from “Shooter the Fox” because of recent mass shootings in the United States.
The Athletics Director for the New York-based college said Wednesday he no longer feels it is appropriate to perpetuate the term “shooter” because of its negative connotations, reports the Poughkeepsie Journal.
“Unfortunately, in our culture today, there is a negative stigma to that term ‘shooter.’ And I just didn’t think it was appropriate for us at this time to perpetuate that term,” Marist Director of Athletics Tim Murray said. “We had a couple people who have commented but many of them frankly have been positive. They understand. They get it.”
The Athletics Department changed “Shooter the Fox” to “Frankie the Fox” — “Frankie” appeared on the back of the mascot’s jersey for the first time this past weekend.
Murray said he first became aware of the term’s negative connotations after the Las Vegas mass shooting that killed 58 and injured about 500. Perpetrator Stephen Paddock was referred to as the “shooter” by media outlets before investigators released his name. Of course, “shooter” is also a common term in the sport of basketball.
“We had a couple people mention something to us over the years, but it really didn’t rise to the level now, where every other week you’re hearing about another unfortunate tragedy,” Murray said. “I think it kind of hit me personally and I said ‘It’s time.’”
Murray said the school has avoided making an official announcement because they want the change to happen quietly. On Tuesday, the university finally updated the athletics website with the new name.