During the Chicago Cubs and the Miami Marlins game on Tuesday, viewers noticed a fan flashing a hand symbol behind commentator Doug Glanville. The "okay" hand gesture was seen during NBC's broadcast of the game, with the fan in question lowering his head for a moment before doing the upside-down gesture. TMZ reports that the Cubs are now officially investigation the gesture and the fan who's responsible.
The hand gesture has been linked to white supremacist groups in the past few years, with users of the website 4chan starting a hoax to promote it as a hate symbol standing for "white power." Despite its origins as a hoax, many far-right personalities adopted the symbol anyway, using it as a trolling tactic. The Anti-Defamation League has warned in the past that "particular caution" should be used when evaluating the intent behind uses of the symbol.
In fact, people have been called racist for using the gesture without malicious intent, hence the need for an investigation from the team. Of course, the fan could have also been using the symbol as part of the circle game, in which the the upside-down gesture is lowered, and if someone notices it, they'll be treated to a punch.
The Chicago Cubs are investigating the situation regardless, and are even considering banning the fan for life. "An individual seated behind Mr. Glanville used what appears to be an offensive hand gesture that is associated with racism," Crane Kenney, Cubs' President of Business Operations, explained. "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 that any hateful conduct should be reported immediately, and "any individual behaving in this manner will not only be removed from the ballpark, but will be permanently banned from Wrigley Field."