During Tuesday night’s Chicago Cubs home game at Wrigley Field, TV footage showed some jackass standing behind NBC Chicago baseball analyst Doug Glanville, who is black, and throwing up the “OK” sign that has become known associated with white supremacists. The Cubs, spurred into action by the reaction to the widely viewed moment, conducted an investigation and on Wednesday announced that the fan, whom they did not identify, would be banned for life from the stadium.
The Cubs’ president of baseball operations, Theo Epstein, told reporters, “It gave me shivers to watch that, to see that take place at Wrigley Field. Appropriately, we’ve made clear how egregious and unacceptable that behavior is, and there’s no place for that in society, in baseball, and Wrigley Field. The person responsible for that gesture will never be welcomed back at Wrigley Field.” Glanville said in a statement, “I applaud the responsiveness of both the Chicago Cubs organization and NBC Sports in investigating this matter. They have reached out to me and are supportive of my role in the broadcast and continue to have a desire to uphold an inclusive environment at Wrigley Field. They have displayed sensitivity to how the implications of this would affect me as a person of color.”
The use of the “OK” sign as a white supremacist symbol began fairly recently. Introduced in 2017 on message boards of the website 4chan, the initial concept seems to have been to gaslight critics of right-wing and alt-right types by pretending that the sign meant something nefarious—specifically “white power.” The gambit was, in essence, that by getting people to call out this seemingly benign sign, right-wingers could call out critics for being oversensitive and “politically correct.” From that beginning, it evolved into a sign that is now used to signify white power ideology and allegiance.