The Nebraska Cornhuskers gave its cartoon mascot an upgrade to make sure there were no associations between Herbie Husker and white supremacy.
In the original logo, Herbie Husker is making an “OK” gesture. Some over the last few years have 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.
“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 said in a statement to the Associated Press. “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.”
The Flatwater Free Press first reported Nebraska’s decision to change the logo.
“That hand gesture could, in some circles, represent something that does not represent what Nebraska athletics is about,” Nebraska’s athletic department’s licensing and branding director Lonna 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 Anti-Defamation League had listed the OK gesture in its hate symbol list.
“A common hand gesture that a 4chan trolling campaign claimed in 2017 had been appropriated as a symbol meaning ‘white power.’ Used by many on the right — not just extremists — for the purpose of trolling liberals, the symbol eventually came to be used by actual white supremacists as well. Caution must be used in evaluating instances of this symbol’s use,” the ADL says.
Herbie Husker first appeared for Nebraska in 1974 and then as an in-game mascot later that year in the Cotton Bowl.