Hand signals should not be misunderstood
If you have stepped foot inside Robertson Stadium on a game day, you know what the Cougar Paw is. Whether there’s a first down, a touchdown or just a general sense of Cougar Pride, fans of all ages and backgrounds are known to throw up the well-loved sign with impunity.
Other colleges, of course, have the same tradition. The University of Texas at Austin has the Hook ’em Horns, Texas A&M has the thumbs up, Baylor has a bearclaw — the list goes on.
Unfortunately, some people can get offended at just about anything these days.
The University of Oregon has a similar tradition; it’s formed by linking the thumb and index fingers of both hands to form an O. It’s done by players and fans, and apparently Mike Pereira, the interim head of Pac-12 officiating, has a problem with it.
“I would say this: I’ll go so far as to guarantee you that Chip Kelly and the Oregon Ducks will get a phone call this week and tell them that ‘You need to stop doing this.’ … Why do I guarantee it? Because I’ll make it,” Pereira said in a FoxSports online video.
“I’ll be the one that calls them this weekend and tells them to get their players to stop doing that.”
Is this really worth spending time over? If the sign was being flaunted by players towards the other team, or if it was shown for inordinate amounts of time, that would be one thing.
But the players only do the symbol towards the fans, and the fans can do whatever they please. It’s not as if the sign is derogatory — it is merely a showing of Oregon’s logo.
Some people may be unaware of the negative connotations associated with the Cougar Paw; it has another meaning (a shocking one) in some circles. Yet you don’t hear UH supporters complaining, because the meaning is understood.
Unless players are flipping the bird to the audience or the opponent, hand signs are a harmless part of sports.