South Carolina wasn’t expected to beat the #3 ranked Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia had better players, a better quarterback, and had knocked out the Gamecocks starting quarterback with a knee injury.
But two overtimes later, the Gamecocks pulled out the upset, and in celebration, South Carolina’s injured quarterback threw up a hand gesture to honor his deceased brother. Then social media saw what was happening and called Ryan Hilinski a racist.
Hilinski lost his older brother, Tyler, two years ago. Tyler Hilinski was the starting quarterback for Washington State and tragically committed suicide in 2018. Tyler wore #3. Ryan, in his honor, points to the sky and flashes three fingers. Ryan calls the gesture, “Forever to three.”
A social media user saw this after the game-winning score and immediately drew connections that a quarterback, from a southern school, was using what has been deemed a racist gesture by political hacks.
The Anti-Defamation League had recently declared the “ok” hand gesture as a hate symbol, even though it is not.
The social media user’s comments about Hilinski using a hate symbol on national television went viral. Other users, who don’t know about Hilinski’s story, immediately jumped in to push up the rhetoric.
Eventually, someone chimed in and explained what the hand gesture meant and it’s significance to the quarterback, but not before things got nasty on social media.
This is the heated, nonsensical environment within which we live. It wasn’t even the circle game, which isn’t racist in any way. It was just a kid honoring his dead brother, and the hysterical class went after him.
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