Is it worth screaming over a demon mascot? Isn’t Demons better than the Chipmunks?

UPDATE AUG. 9: Warner Robins police say they’ve charged pastor Donald Crosby with picketing without a license for protesting Warner Robins High School’s “Demon” nickname and mascot. Police spokeswoman Tabitha Pugh says 36-year-old Crosby was arrested on Monday after police told him he didn’t have a permit, as required by the city.

Crosby and supporters set up the protest outside the school on the opening day of classes because of their opposition to the nickname. He says his son attends the school and he doesn’t want him exposed to the name’s connotations

Original blog:

The crusade to rid Warner Robins High School of its demon name and mascot seems as silly to me as an effort I once read about to ban devil costumes from school Halloween parades.

I understand the concerns of the pastor leading the effort but don’t believe that cheering on their football team iby exhorting “Go demons” is going to lead Warner Robins High students astray.

Mascot fervor seems to depend on the school. Some schools have mascots that they never mention, while others revere their their mascots and consider them a sacred tradition. (See UGA bulldogs.)

(I am one of those parents who goes to soccer games and yells, “Go blue.” I never use the team’s official name or mascot name.)

I found an interesting array of high school team names online, including the Criminals, the Poets (my favorite), Rice Birds, Daredevils, Dirt Devils, Horned Toads, Fighting Zee-Bees, Fighting Zebras , Fighting Sandcrabs and Fighting Frogs, Jack Rabbits, Honkers, Winged Beavers, Berries, Cavemen and Chipmunks.

As a reporter, I have covered other debates over school mascots, including in schools that use Indian names. I am not sure why schools even began using mascots. Why can’t the crowds just yell “Go Warner Robins,” rather than “Go Demons”?

Anyone know the history of mascots in general?

Here is the AJC story. See what you think:

A Warner Robins pastor is on a crusade against something sacred to many in the middle Georgia town: high school football.

The devil is at the center of a fight that seems to start every few years when someone new to Warner Robins realizes that the city’s oldest high school, which has one of the most successful football programs in Georgia, rallies around a green-eyed, pitchfork-carrying demon.

The Warner Robins High School Demons.

A pastor at Kingdom Builders Church of Jesus Christ was shocked when he realized his own son could be among the hundreds of students shouting ‘Go Demons!’ to cheer on the school’s sports teams, but particularly in football, where the Demons have won four state championships over the years.

“It’s the equivalent of us gathering into a church on Sunday morning and shouting ‘Go Jesus’ or ‘Hallelujah Jesus,’” Donald Crosby, a Warner Robins resident for about a year, told Macon television station WMAZ.

The preacher has tried to move his ninth-grade son to a different school, one with a mascot more to the family’s liking. In the meanwhile, he is collecting signatures on a petition to change the symbol.

“Again?” was the reaction from Jenni Ruff, class of ’81 and mother of two Demons.

“This is not something new.” Ruff told the AJC on Wednesday. “This is typical when you have somebody new to the community. We’ve had people complain about this … I just don’t even connect that with Satan. It’s just a mascot.”

Crosby begs to differ.

“A demon never has a good connotation. Never,” Crosby told the Macon TV station. “If you look it up in Webster’s Dictionary, there’s nothing good about a demon.”

Brian Ruff, class of ‘82, told the AJC that’s part of the point. “Most mascots are supposed to strike fear,” Ruff told the AJC.

His 15-year-old daughter, Brianna, doesn’t get the preacher’s argument either. “I’ve been part of Demon football since I was a baby,” she said.

Her father was president of the football booster club from 2004-07.

“It has nothing to do with worshiping the Devil. I’m a Christian myself. I love God to death. But the demon mascot has never changed my thoughts about worshiping the Devil.”

Brian Ruff says he researched the mascot’s history. He said the Air Force paid to have the high school built and the mascot was chosen to honor  the 7th fighter squadron the “Screamin’ Demons” which came to Robins Air Force Base for repairs. Warner Robins High School adopted the mascot when it opened in 1946.

Houston County school officials said it was unlikely the mascot would be changed

90 comments Add your comment


July 29th, 2010
9:19 am

This pastor is getting his 15 minutes of fame. This will blow over before the football season begins.


July 29th, 2010
9:39 am

Religion always mucks things up for people. If you are so weak in your faith that this intimidates you, maybe you need to reassess your faith.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Macon GA News and Halloween Party City, Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: Is it worth screaming over a demon mascot? Isn’t Demons better than the Chipmunks? [...]


July 29th, 2010
9:49 am

And then there are all the schools who were named the “Trojans” before that got associated with entirely different subject matter?

Ros Dalton

July 29th, 2010
9:49 am


I hate to insinuate by association, but you know who else thinks demon mascots lead to evil? Fred Phelps. You know what’s never a sign you’re being reasonable or rational? When Fred Phelps is on your side. If you’re the praying type it’s time to pray for a little common sense.

V for Vendetta

July 29th, 2010
10:06 am

Oh look, it’s another religious person acting irrationally. Big surprise. What do you expect when you base your life on faith instead of reason and logic?

DeKalb Educated

July 29th, 2010
10:07 am

I am waiting for the Boilermakers or BeerBrewers to really get things stirred up around here. Why do people try to bring their religious dogma into public events? Practice your faith, lead by example and not by rhetoric. I wonder how much this preacher does to serve the poor? Guess those in glass houses, should not throw stones? Wonder how the Duke Blue Devils feel since they were founded by the Methodist? Mascots have been around for years. In the middle ages, there were mascots for towns and city-state. Here is some history Maureen; “The history of mascots dates back to cavemen and early societies who hunted for their livelihood. Early accounts of masked creatures, often resembling animals were drawn or etched on cave walls and depicted in ancient art. Totem poles were filled with likenesses of animals in ancient cultures. These likenesses are much like the concept of the team mascots evident on football fields and basketball courts.According to Ruth Alexander, Professor at the University of Florida, the history, of the school mascot, began in early intercollegiate sports. Schools needed a way to set apart their school, develop an air of uniqueness. The very first mascots appear at Ivy League schools, such as Yale, Harvard, and Brown. Cavemen used masks and costumes to gather strength for hunts and battles. The transition to the sports was only natural. The phenomenon grew and schools mascots quickly became household names and proud identifiers. The mascot signifies a proud heritage and continual identification by students well past graduation, embodying the spirit of the school.”

DeKalb Educated

July 29th, 2010
10:13 am

Strange but true Mascot names. The Whittier Poets could probably come up with some entertaining prose and poetry for RISD – The Nads, Rhode Island School of Design. Another unofficial mascot, “Scrotie” the Nad is a man-sized penis draped in a red cape. I didn’t say “life-sized” but rather “man-sized,” as in nearly 6-feet-tall (depending on who is in the outfit). Perhaps even stranger is the schools unofficial sporting motto: “When the heat is on, the Balls stick together.” Go Nads? (will this make the filter, Mauareen?) The preacher may be happy to be a DEMON fan now when he considers the options.

William Casey

July 29th, 2010
10:14 am

The “Sand Gnat” is my favorite mascot. (Savannah baseball)

Warrior Woman

July 29th, 2010
10:31 am

Both Maureen’s suggestion of not having mascots and Crosby’s suggestion of changing the name are absolutely absurd.


July 29th, 2010
10:36 am

Great Scott, Preacher, We got bigger fish to fry.. Go clean up the oil spill with your free time.

DeKalb Educated

July 29th, 2010
10:48 am

A history lesson for Maureen and others. Since the dawn of time, people have used animals to represent something in their culture. Totem poles used animal symbols. European city-states adopted mascots. According to Ruth Alexander, Professor at the University of Florida, the history, of the school mascot, began in early intercollegiate sports. Schools needed a way to set apart their school, develop an air of uniqueness. The very first mascots appear at Ivy League schools, such as Yale, Harvard, and Brown. Cavemen used masks and costumes to gather strength for hunts and battles. The transition to the sports was only natural. The phenomenon grew and schools mascots quickly became household names and proud identifiers. The mascot signifies a proud heritage and continual identification by students well past graduation, embodying the spirit of the school. The bottom line when you live in a town like Warner-Robbins – that is a lot to scream. It is much easier to say “Go Demons!” Like Go DAWGS! Simplicity is needed in tough athletic matches.

Reverend Ike

July 29th, 2010
10:55 am

V for Vendetta

Okay we get the point that you are a godless atheist.

Bobby T

July 29th, 2010
11:04 am

If Bible-thumpin’ Cobb and Marietta can get over having Blue Devils I am sure that Warner Robins can weather the storm yet again.

William Melvin Hicks

July 29th, 2010
11:18 am

Christians…..HA….It’s funny how Christians wear crosses around their necks. Do you think if Jesus does come back, he will want to see another cross?

Teacher Reader

July 29th, 2010
11:37 am

With all of the problems in our education system, this is what the preacher is concerned about? He needs to get a life and put his efforts into something that would really benefit the children.

Bell Curve

July 29th, 2010
12:00 pm

He should home-school his kid and save us the trouble

Stop LYING Maureen!

July 29th, 2010
12:02 pm

I know when I go to root for the AJC softball team I always yell “Go fraudulent shills”! And I must admit, it DOES sound more authentic than “Go chipmunks!”


July 29th, 2010
12:15 pm

Pastor Crosby, thank you for bringing this important matter to the attention of our community. I demand the AJC begin an immediate investigation into the number of devil worshippers at WRHS. The mascot should be changed to the Saints so that all the students would become good people.

These kids are our future. They must be protected!


July 29th, 2010
12:17 pm

Oh wait, the Saints mascot would be offensive to non-Christians. We certainly don’t want the government imposing religious (Christian) beliefs. No more Devils or Saints as our mascots.


July 29th, 2010
12:19 pm

This is so stupid. Yeah, like a school mascot is going to turn his kid into a devil-worshiper. This is another case of one person forcing change that affects everyone else. I mean, lets look back at the schools history. Has shouting “Go Demons” created a bunch of devil worshiping criminals, probably not! I don’t think just because one person finds something offensive that they should have to make everyone else change. He can always exercise his “parents right to choose” act and send his son to another school!

This same thing happened to me in junior high. We were the Jonesboro Red Devils. Some crazy mom made us change that when her kid went there. We changed to the Golden Bears. GOLDEN!!! I mean, Bears would have been ok but put the Golden in front of it and we sounded like a bunch of Teddy Bears. We were majorly made fun of by our rivals for that one.

I am a Christian myself and I just don’t see the problem with whatever mascot a school has. I saw leave well enough alone and go change something that really matters. This guys time would be better spent serving the community in different ways.


July 29th, 2010
12:21 pm

After lengthy thought, I have concluded that all mascots could be found offensive by someone out there. Let’s mandate that all high school mascots must be the dropout rate of the high school. For example, you might have the Obama High School 37s or the Bush High School 43s.

Now that might be offensive!


July 29th, 2010
12:24 pm

My favorite – the Fighting Okra

Old School

July 29th, 2010
12:46 pm

My niece graduated from Austin Peay in Tennessee. I don’t know what their mascot was but I remember how hilarious it was to hear her talk about sitting in the stands and yelling, “Go Peay!” (hint for those unfamiliar with the college- it rhymes with ME.)
Then there was the excitable announcer at a Southwest Georgia 9th grade football game who referred to the young teams as the “baby Gators” and the shortened version of Syrupmaker- “baby ‘Makers. No kidding!

My particular favorites are the Beet Diggers and the fighting Banana Slugs.

Larry Major

July 29th, 2010
1:04 pm

If this mascot makes Pastor Crosby uncomfortable, he should by all means enroll his son in another school with a more appropriate mascot, like North Hall. Considering how he’s acting, The Trojans would seem to be a good fit.


July 29th, 2010
1:20 pm

I hear Rush Limbaugh’s company softball team goes by the name of the Maureens, in honor of a blogger who uses many of the same divisive tactics Limbaugh does to increase audience share.


July 29th, 2010
1:31 pm

I like the Cairo Syrupmakers.

Old School

July 29th, 2010
1:35 pm

Maureen, please free me from the jaw of the filter! And Batgirl, I kinda like the Cairo Syrupmakers too. I’m surprised someone hasn’t brought up the Nimrods- a most honorable name that many think has an entirely different connotation.

Teacher #3

July 29th, 2010
1:41 pm

I wonder if these people have the same problem with the symbolism and potential real consequences (???) of the confederate flag…


July 29th, 2010
1:52 pm

You know you can trace the use of mascots back in the biblical days and maybe even further back. Biblical days certain patterns in tapestry described which house you belonged to. In Dark Ages symbols on shield/armor described which kingdom you represented. Your last name tells everyone which family you belong to. Mascots represent which team you play for.


July 29th, 2010
2:20 pm

I can’t roll my eyes enough on this one. Here we have education being slashed by billions, teachers being let go, class sizes raised and years shortened, and all the buffoon can shout about is a devil mascot?? ROFL Amazing how some folks will nitpick over something so inconsequential…


July 29th, 2010
2:39 pm

William Melvin Hicks, Thank you for the great laugh I needed today.


July 29th, 2010
2:58 pm

This is the same type of stupidity and fear-mongering that got innocent people burn for being witches and devils . All started by a bunch of religious fanatics . If you think a devil mascot is going to corrupt the youth of Warner Robbins you are not much of a pastor , a football game is the most american iconic thing one can do in there youth. mascots are part of that ritual. Wouldn’t your time be better utilized convincing kids to stay in school and preaching tolerance insteading causing all this upheaval over nothing.

Waist O' Thyme

July 29th, 2010
3:36 pm

If the lies Maureen told yesterday-lies that not one of her 400,000 readers will publicly support-and this topic today don’t convince readers to hold this blog to a higher standard, nothing will.


July 29th, 2010
4:07 pm

Competitive: Or the Decatur High 69s?

How about this (actual) cheer for the University of the South (Sewanee): “Rip `em up! Tear `em up! Leave `em in the lurch. Down with the heathen. Up with the Church.–Yea, Sewanee’s Right!”


July 29th, 2010
4:09 pm

What about the Wake Forest Demon Deacons?


July 29th, 2010
6:17 pm

This is just the silliest thing. Surely the reverend has more important things to do.

He could see an empty church next Sunday. He should be fired for stupidity.

Ashley Kilgore

July 29th, 2010
7:12 pm

People are so damn ignorant. This is one of the stupidest things I have heard in a long time. Let’s rip the last bit of tradition the high schools have. I am proud to say that I am a Northside Eagle and even I am pissed about this. It’s just a damn mascot. You’ve got to be the most horrible pastor on earth if you can’t prevent your children from turning to the devil over their school mascot. This is so absurd.

V for Vendetta

July 29th, 2010
7:28 pm

Rev. Ike,

Well, stories like this make it pretty obvious why I’m an atheist. It’s a lot more relaxing being able to go through life without getting worked up about school mascots, gays, sex, etc. Try it sometime. You might find that you like it. :-)


July 29th, 2010
8:32 pm

Funny how the AJC tries to make this sound like much ado about nothing, but if the mascot were named the “Braves” or “Rebels”, they would be first in line to condemn.

Selective outrage?


July 29th, 2010
8:48 pm

Why should some guy that’s only lived here one year be allowed to even have a say in something that’s 60 years of tradition. He is a real crappy parent since his kids are going to become devil worshiper from watching a high school football game. What an idiot doesn’t he know that education in Georgia is becoming horrible we are going through two wars and spongebob is dieing in an oilspill yet he has time to pray to Jesus about changing a mascot!!!

Don't look know

July 30th, 2010
12:15 am

Pssst…The Wake Forest Demon Deacons must really frighten the poor little pastor. Put that in you religion and smoke it. Hahahahaha


July 30th, 2010
2:06 am

Dance on, Chief Illiniwek! Go Fighting Illini! I’m with Lee on the double standard and I would rather cheer for the screamin’ demons than the banana slugs. Just a personal preference.

Demon Graduate

July 30th, 2010
10:00 am

This guys is obviously trying to draw up a congregation since it states in the article that he just moved to Warner Vegas. He will quickly discover that he has zero support from my home town.

Someone should let this baffoon know that Delta is ready when he is.


July 30th, 2010
12:59 pm

What an idiot. Way to keep the stereotype alive that Bible thumpers are ridiculous, illogical sheeple. If a mascot will sway you to satanism, you are completely incapable of forming your own thought process and have nothing to look forward to besides your future as a mouth-breathing fast food employee anyway.


July 30th, 2010
3:00 pm

It’s very sad to see that some people are really for the devil. I see what type of covering is over this school. I pray that I will never have to move to this town.


July 30th, 2010
4:08 pm

If a Demon mascot can lure his child away from Christ then he has a whole lot more to worry about than a mascot!!!!!


July 30th, 2010
6:14 pm

According to the article, the Demons are named after an Air Force squadron, NOT the evil being itself (yes, I realize the squadron was nicknamed after an evil being).

So when the preacher asked for the name change, he was showing ignorance of local history and disrespect for our military (I mean, if we’re going to get all incendiary here)…


August 2nd, 2010
1:27 am

People are very misinformed if they think Christians are protesting demons because we are afraid of them. We aren’t intimidated by the devil in any form, and this is just the beginning of showing that to the world. There is a breed of Christians who believe in the Bible and live its truth, and it is these non-punk Christians that are now stirring things up because of Jesus Christ’s calling and for His name. The Air Force is wrong, too. I don’t care how long you’ve been a demon– any time period is too long. Ya’ll just hold on for the ride cuz you ain’t seen NOTHING yet.


August 2nd, 2010
3:08 pm

If he’s into Christianity, He should be preparing for May 14,2011 instead of waisting time freakin out about a high school mascot.
(I mean if you believe into that kinda thing)