The Arkansas School for the Deaf‘s team mascot has been the Leopards since 1941, though the members of British rock band Def Leppard were probably unaware of the school’s existence when they formed in 1977. The band’s name was originally “Deaf Leopard.” Influenced by the name “Led Zeppelin,” it was changed to “Def Leppard”—the original spelling seemed too “punk sounding.”
Flashing forward to present day, photos of the Arkansas School For the Deaf’s team scoreboard have become a popular Internet share amongst pun-loving NWOBHM aficionados.
The Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports that a Change.org petition is now circulating, asking Def Leppard to take time off from their tour schedule, which takes them through Arkansas on May 11, to pay a visit to the School For the Deaf. Petition author Cary Tyson, a program officer at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, has suggested the band take a photo in front of the school’s now-iconic scoreboard as a way to raise awareness for the school’s work.
“What better place for a band photo?” wrote Tyson. “Help me convince the band to take a band photo in front of the scoreboard by signing this petition. Bring attention to a school that deserves it and does great work as well as a great band.”
As of this writing, the petition has a little over a thousand signatures.