Nebraska alters Herbie Husker cartoon to avoid white supremacy link

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Nebraska alters Herbie Husker cartoon to avoid white supremacy link

The Nebraska Cornhuskers gave its cartoon mascot an upgrade to make sure there were no associations between Herbie Husker and white supremacy.In th

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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 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.’

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Nebraska Huskers t-shirts featuring new cartoon mascot Herbie Husker, left, and old cartoon mascot, right, are displayed at the Husker Hounds store in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has made a change to its cartoon mascot Herbie Husker to eliminate confusion about the meaning of a hand gesture he makes that some people connect with white supremacy.

Nebraska Huskers t-shirts featuring new cartoon mascot Herbie Husker, left, and old cartoon mascot, right, are displayed at the Husker Hounds store in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has made a change to its cartoon mascot Herbie Husker to eliminate confusion about the meaning of a hand gesture he makes that some people connect with white supremacy.
(AP Photo/Eric Olson)

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.

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“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.

Mascot Herbie Husker of the Nebraska Cornhuskers cheers on the field during a game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Nebraska Cornhuskers at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The Ohio State Buckeyes won 63-38.

Mascot Herbie Husker of the Nebraska Cornhuskers cheers on the field during a game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Nebraska Cornhuskers at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The Ohio State Buckeyes won 63-38.
(David Dermer/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

“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.

Nebraska Cornhuskers mascot Herbie Husker is seen during the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Champaign, Illinois.  Illinois defeated Nebraska 14-13.

Nebraska Cornhuskers mascot Herbie Husker is seen during the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Champaign, Illinois.  Illinois defeated Nebraska 14-13.
(Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

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Herbie Husker first appeared for Nebraska in 1974 and then as an in-game mascot later that year in the Cotton Bowl.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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