The University of Nebraska has changed the “OK” hand signal of its “Herbie Husker” mascot to avoid using the gesture that has been adopted by white supremacists.
The university’s “cornhusker” mascot — a farmer in overalls with a big red cowboy hat — has been flashing the “OK” sign for some 50 years. But from now on he’ll hold up a finger signaling “No. 1,” the Flatwater Free Press reported Friday.
Lonna Henrichs, the licensing and branding director for the college’s athletic department, told the newspaper that the university “made that change as quick as we could.”
That “hand gesture could, in some circles, represent something that does not represent what Nebraska athletics is about,” Henrichs added. “We just didn’t even want to be associated with portraying anything that somebody might think, you know, that it means white power.”
The athletics department first learned of the “OK” gesture’s link to white supremacy when an apparel provider informed officials in 2020 following Black Lives Matter protests, university officials told The Associated Press in a statement.
“The process of changing the logo began in 2020, and we updated our brand guidelines in July of 2021,” the statement added. The revised logo with the mascot gesturing “number 1″ is now the “only Herbie Husker mark available to licensees,” the statement added.