Fearful of white supremacy link, Nebraska’s ‘Herbie Husker’ mascot gets subtle woke-compliant update

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The University of Nebraska has made a subtle change to its longtime cartoon logo to eliminate any purported link to racism.

“In the original logo, Herbie Husker is making an ‘OK’ gesture. Some over the last few years after connected the symbol to white supremacy – three straight fingers making a ‘W’ and the circle formed next to an extended finger make a ‘P.’ The cartoon from the 1970s was altered to Herbie making a No. 1 sign,”  Fox News reported.

Like the thumbs-up gesture, the A-OK indication is (or was) a traditional and affirming part of Americana used by people from all walks of life that has nothing to do with any abhorrent hate group.

From the Anti-Defamation League, in a September 2018 advisory: “Has the simple thumb-and-forefinger ‘OK’ hand gesture become a common white supremacist hand sign? Not quite, but it has become a popular gesture used by people across several segments of the right and far right—including some actual white supremacists—who generally use it to trigger reactions, or what they would describe as ‘trolling the libs’…”

The ADL concedes, however, that “It is important to realize that the ‘OK’ gesture is a nearly universal hand gesture and most usage of it is completely innocuous.”

It separately recommended taking “particular care…not to jump to conclusions about the intent behind someone who has used the gesture.”

In a statement to the Associated Press, the university athletics department said, “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. The process of changing the logo began in 2020, and we updated our brand guidelines in July of 2021. The revised logo is now the only Herbie Husker mark available to licensees.”

“That hand gesture could, in some circles, represent something that does not represent what Nebraska athletics is about. We just didn’t even want to be associated with portraying anything that somebody might think, you know, that it means white power,” Lonna Henrichs, the school’s licensing and branding director for the athletic department, told the Nebraska-based Flatwater Free Press, the news outlet that broke the story.

“We made that change as quick as we could,” she added. Heinrich apparently learned of the connection shortly after George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis.

“Dick West, a longtime cartoonist from Lubbock, Texas, was presumably thinking about none of this when he drew what became Herbie for the 1974 Cotton Bowl pitting Nebraska against Texas,” the Free Press recalled.

Controversial ex-GOP Congressman Steve King blasted the logo change: “We are a nation of pansies. Always an uplifting & positive gesture to show the OK sign. Now it’s not OK…How do you expect to win football games when Herbie Husker takes his orders from a Leftist NGO? Give ‘em more OK’s to desensitize the snowflakes,” he wrote on Twitter.

One a college football powerhouse, the Nebraska Cornhuskers have experienced five consecutive losing seasons, so as things stand now, they’re a long way from validating “we’re number one.”

Although the logo update has met with the approval of some on social media, others have a different reaction. Here is a brief sampling:


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