In anticipation of its baseball team’s matchup with North Carolina State in the Greenville Regional of the NCAA tournament, Campbell University announced Tuesday that Joe Camel will be the school’s new official mascot.
Joe Camel, who is most remembered for his advertising work for Camel cigarettes over two decades ago, told reporters he was excited just to have something to do.
“All those cigarette ads back in the day got me a lot of bad press,” Camel said. “It was hard for me to find steady work.”
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to represent the Campbell Fighting Camels, smoke-free.”
Interim Athletics Director Wanda Watkins explained that Camel’s relationship with the school would have nothing to do with tobacco products of any kind.
“It’s understandable that there would be some skepticism about having him as our mascot, given his history,” Watkins said. “But he left the smoking game a long time ago, and he’s eager to turn over a new leaf, but not a tobacco one.”
Not everyone is excited about the mascot change, however.
One Campbell fan blamed Joe Camel for getting him addicted to cigarettes.
“That bastard, he had me puffing on my Dad’s Camel Lights in the third grade,” the fan said. “He made it look so cool. You know what’s not cool? Having to carry an oxygen tank at the age of 30.”
Campbell is the number 3 seed, while N.C. State is the number 2 seed. East Carolina and Quinnipiac round out the rest of the Greenville Regional as the 1 and 4 seeds, respectively.
The Campbell-NC State game is scheduled for Friday at noon. Camel is expected to be in attendance.
“I hope we smoke those guys,” Camel said.