University of Nebraska Changes Herbie Husker Mascot Logo to Sever Link With White Supremacists

The school altered the logo for the mascot to remove the cartoon character's "OK" hand gesture

Nebraska Cornhuskers mascot Herbie Husker during a game against the Illinois Fighting Illini
Nebraska Cornhuskers mascot Herbie Husker during a game against the Illinois Fighting Illini.
Michael Hickey/Getty

The University of Nebraska has subtly changed the logo for the school’s mascot Herbie Husker to avoid any connection with white supremacy due to the “OK” sign the cartoon character used to make, according to Flatwater Free Press.

Instead of making the “OK” sign with the index finger and thumb on his left hand, the mascot now makes the well-known “We’re No. 1” sign with his index finger raised. In recent years, the “OK” sign was been linked with white power groups who use the gesture as a sign to show their beliefs as they use the three straight fingers to make a ‘W’ and the circle formed next to it to make some semblance of a ‘P,’ according to The Associated Press.

The sign is also present in the Anti-Defamation League’s hate symbol database. “In 2017, the ‘okay’ hand gesture acquired a new and different significance thanks to a hoax by members of the website 4chan to falsely promote the gesture as a hate symbol, claiming that the gesture represented the letters ‘wp,’ for ‘white power,’” the database entry reads. “The ‘okay’ gesture hoax was merely the latest in a series of similar 4chan hoaxes using various innocuous symbols; in each case, the hoaxers hoped that the media and liberals would overreact by condemning a common image as white supremacist…Ironically, some white supremacists themselves soon also participated in such trolling tactics, lending an actual credence to those who labeled the trolling gesture as racist in nature. Use of the okay symbol in most contexts is entirely innocuous and harmless.”

After being made aware of the new meaning of the sign Herbie had been making since the ’70s in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by a white Minneapolis police officer, Nebraska athletic department licensing and branding director Lonna Henrichs efforted to get the logo changed quickly.

“That hand gesture could, in some circles, represent something that does not represent what Nebraska athletics is about,” Henrichs told the Flatwater Free Press. “We just didn’t even want to be associated with portraying anything that somebody might think, you know, that it means white power. We made that change as quick as we could.”

The updated logo is the only one that will be approved for official Cornhuskers merchandise going forward.

“The concern about the hand gesture was brought to our attention by our apparel provider and others, and we decided to move forward with a revised Herbie Husker logo,” Nebraska Athletics told The Associated Press. “The process of changing the logo began in 2020, and we updated our brand guidelines in July of 2021.”

It’s too bad that change had to be made, but good for the University of Nebraska for making it.

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