“Such ignorant and repulsive behavior is not tolerated at Wrigley Field.”
The Chicago Cubs organization is investigating an incident involving a fan accused of making an “offensive hand gesture that is associated with racism,” TMZ Sports reported.
The act was captured during Tuesday night’s broadcast of the Cubs-Marlins game as cameras cut to NBC Sports Chicago commentator and former MLB outfielder Doug Glanville. While Glanville delivered a post-third inning analysis, the man in question performed an upside-down “OK gesture,” which is done by “connecting the thumb and index finger into a circle, and holding the other fingers straight or relaxed away from the palm.”
The “OK sign” is sometimes associated with support for white supremacy.
“An individual seated behind Mr. Glanville used what appears to be an offensive hand gesture that is associated with racism,” Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney said in a statement to The Washington Post.
“Such ignorant and repulsive behavior is not tolerated at Wrigley Field. We are reviewing the incident thoroughly because no one should be subjected to this type of offensive behavior,” he added.
“Any derogatory conduct should be reported immediately to our ballpark staff. Any individual behaving in this manner will not only be removed from the ballpark, but will be permanently banned from Wrigley Field,” Kenney added.
Various media outlets have traced the “OK sign’s” path from innocent gesture to alleged nod to white supremacy. A contentious debate has emerged over whether those who use the hand signal are doing so to announce their support for white supremacy or whether they’re doing it because they know it angers liberals. Complicating the matter is a hoax campaign launched by users of the controversial imageboard site 4chan in 2017 to troll leftists by popularizing the association of the gesture with the white power movement.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, white nationalists’ adoption of the signal preceded 4chan’s hoax. The SPLC cited the use of the gesture by alt-right figures, such as Richard Spencer and Milo Yiannopoulos, prior to 2017.
The Anti-Defamation League initially dismissed equating the “OK” symbol with a white supremacist hand sign. However, the organization has since updated a blog post on their site with a more expanded discussion of the issue. According to the ADL, only “if the gesture occurs in context with other clear indicators of white supremacy can one draw” the conclusion that “such a gesture is intending or exhibiting an association with white supremacy.”
The organization notes “that the ‘OK’ gesture is a nearly universal hand gesture and most usage of it is completely innocuous.”