A high school football team down in South Texas is going viral over their controversial “Cotton Pickers” team name and cotton plant mascot.
Corpus Christi’s ABC affiliate KIII 3 Sports highlighted the football team in a Twitter post on Friday (Sept. 4) evening.
“The Robstown Cotton Pickers come out before their season opener against London tonight,” KIII 3 Sports reporter Chris Thomasson captioned on the video clip of the players entering the stadium.
Users on social media quickly caught wind of the antebellum reference in the team’s name and had lots of questions, especially considering America’s slave past and today’s delicate political and social climate.
The Cotton Pickers team name has been addressed more than once in the past. The school made MTV’s list of offensive high school mascots in 2014.
The town, made of mostly Latinx migrant workers, is okay with the Cotton Pickers mascot, it seems. Residents cite pride in their heritage as the reason for not making a change to the team’s name.
“I’ve lived in different cities and when I tell them my high school mascot they kind of take…it’s as a big surprise,” Robstown High School Alumnus Herman Rodriguez told Pro Sports Extra. “We’ve evolved and we need to change some of that history, and this could be offensive if it’s not understood, and if it’s not understood how many Latinos are in this town.”
Rodriguez noted that his parents and many in the community are people who have picked cotton as migrants, therefore they don’t view it as a slur. Though, there are Black students on the sports team as well who may have a different point of view to offer.
“Robstown ISD administration has not received commentary from parents due to neighboring school districts’ mascot controversy,” Robstown Independent School District said in a statement from 2017. “To be a Robstown Cotton Picker exhibits a sense of pride. At this time Robstown ISD will stay focused on student needs as their priority.”
Check out more reactions to the Cotton Pickers high school football team name and mascot below.