Home News Fat-shaming? The ‘Ozempig’ remains the mascot of the Minnesota baseball team...

Fat-shaming? The ‘Ozempig’ remains the mascot of the Minnesota baseball team despite the uproar

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For a Minnesota minor league baseball team known for its history of overseas promotions, the idea of ​​naming its longtime live pig mascot after the weight-loss drug Ozempic made perfect sense.

The St. Paul Saints quickly learned that not everyone was happy with the pig’s name, Ozempig, or the pig’s embarrassment about gaining weight and posting a backstory about the team’s commitment to trying to stay trim.

Almost as soon as the team announced the name this week ahead of Saturday’s opening day game, criticism erupted on social media from people offended by the name, calling it hurtful and insensitive.

Saints vice president and director of media relations Shawn Aaronson said the team just wanted a fun, topical name for its pig when it chose Ozempig from about 2,300 entries in its “Name the Pig Contest.” Team officials were shocked that so many people found the name offensive, Aronson said.

This photo provided by the St. Paul Saints shows a pig named Ozempig on Thursday, March 28, at a farm in Wisconsin. (St. Paul Saints Baseball via AP)

“In today’s world, people don’t want to be reduced, they don’t want to feel a certain way, and I’m not going to tell them how they feel is wrong,” Aronson said. “But I can tell you there was no malice, no malice, there was no discussion in the room when we were coming up with the name that hey, it might offend some people.”

Ozempic is among several new drugs that help people lose significant weight. The drugs can be expensive, depending on insurance coverage, but have gained widespread attention in part because of being promoted by celebrities and on social media sites.

The Saints Pig is a favorite participant in the team’s games played at CHS Field in downtown St. Paul, about 10 miles (16 km) from the Minnesota Twins’ much larger home in Minneapolis. The animal takes the ball to the umpire and grows noticeably larger during the summer—so large, in fact, that another young pig takes over midway through the season.

Naming the pig mascot after a high-profile drug seemed natural to the Saints, a Triple-A affiliate of the Twins with a long history of amusing promotions, such as fans affixed to a Velcro wall in the outfield and humans dressed as racing giant eyeballs in the infield.

With such past stunts in mind, some Saints fans have defended the name as a play on words and nothing more.

Aronson said team officials understood why some people were upset and considered changing the name but decided to stick with Ozempig.

“We knew how we came up with the name and we were fine with it but we discussed it and decided we were going to keep it,” he said.

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