By Dawn Russell
First it was attacks on the confederate flag, then the playing of Dixie at games...now Colonel Rebel is getting the boot. Ole Miss has banned their mascot from the sidelines, while they look for a new image.
It's time to say good-bye to the cartoon-looking mascot that entertains crowds at Ole Miss sporting events. Colonel Rebel with his big head, white beard and floppy hat and shoes is no longer welcome on the football field.
James Everett, an Ole Miss fan, says "Oh, man. I will miss him. It was fun. I liked him. He makes people laugh and stuff."
The University of Mississippi is searching now for a new mascot.
Chasity Myers, another Ole Miss fan, says "I think it's stupid. It's Ole Miss. Come on. He's always been there on the field. I don't think they should take him off."
But Colonel Reb. is still an official trademark of the university.
Rep. Erik Fleming of Jackson says, "If they were going to do it, they should of done it all the way rather than part of the way."
Rep. Fleming says the colonel's southern plantation look brings back memories of the days when African-Americans weren't welcome at Ole Miss. But some fans disagree.
Everett says, "I don't think the mascot portrays a bad image for the university."
Lane Oswalt, another Ole Miss fan says, "All it is is an image. It's not going to change the way people feel about things or the way they will or won't act."
Athletic director Pete Boone says the thing that has always struck him is that this old man with a cane doesn't represent anything athletic. And he says it seems to be a different image than what they are trying to do from an athletic standpoint.
Jeff Parrot says, "It will level out the playing field in recruiting. I think eventually in the end it will help Ole Miss more than State."
And that's not good news to this die-hard M.S.U. fan. But he's trying to look at the big picture.
Parrot says, "Get rid of the old south stuff Ole Miss has and portray a new image."
But for now, Ole Miss is mascot-less until a replacement is approved.