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Commentary Relays Edition

Über-brawn: of the “BAM” slogan I ain’t fond

Graphic by Liv Klassen | Photo Editor

BAM. Anyone who’s anyone on, around or affiliated with Drake University knows exactly what BAM is. 

Be a man. The notorious and controversial slogan for our Drake football team. The players are almost always referred to as “Bam Boys” – and not necessarily in a good way. In my time at Drake, it has definitely evolved to a more derogatory term.

The entire football team has been classified by the derogatory term of “Bam Boys,” fitting into a stereotype that they all are toxic men who only think about themselves, and don’t respect women or anyone other than themselves. 

While yes, there are definitely players I know who fit into that category, I also know plenty of players who very much don’t. There are players who are actually cool, respectable and genuinely nice human beings. And it’s these same players who also don’t agree with the BAM slogan and don’t like that they have to affiliate with it.

I don’t think I have to explain why “be a man” is a problematic slogan. But it’s rightfully been called misogynistic, demeaning and undermines men’s own mental and physical wellbeing.

What’s it mean exactly to “be a man”? Does it mean you have to be a macho fit dude who is not allowed to have emotion and plays football? If that’s the case then I guess I’m not a man. I’m a scrawny guy with no interest in football who has never shied away from showing emotions. 

Personally I’d disagree. I say I’m every bit the man that the football players are. 

This really begs the question, why is BAM still the slogan for our football team? I have yet to encounter a single person on this campus who supports it, there are professors I’ve had that have openly condemned it and even some members of the team itself don’t support it and hate being affiliated with the term “BAM Boy.” 

Hell, I overheard people in one of the admitted student tour groups a couple weeks ago express disgust in the slogan and outright said to their tour guide that it was a red flag for the university. It doesn’t stop there – I had lunch at Zombie Burger downtown a couple weeks ago and literally overheard some guy say something along the lines of, “Maybe Drake’s team would have more respect if their slogan was anything other than ‘be a man.’”

For a university that prides itself on diversity, equity and inclusion, “be a man” doesn’t exactly fit the DEI initiative. As a member of Positive Mentality – a campus support group affiliated with Drake Prevention that holds weekly discussions about toxic masculinity – we’ve had discussions about how BAM is problematic and only further adds to the toxic stigma. 

(Shameless plug for Positive Mentality: anyone is welcome, meetings every Tuesday in Olmsted, definitely worth it to show up)

Personally I think a better slogan would be something like “Go Dawgs”! That seems to fit so much better with the team and is just fun to say and cheer. Not a single person ever cheers “be a man.” To be frank, if someone did, I’m sure they would receive dirty looks.

I’m also curious about the origins of the slogan. Like, how long has it been around? Who thought of it? Who approved it? Who continues to keep it?

I think I’ve made my point, and I can confidently say that I can speak for quite a lot of people, not just myself.

I agree, perhaps the team would get more respect and receive less flak from people if they had a more respectable, less probabatic slogan. Because not everyone on the team deserves the BAM Boy hate.


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