Volleyball Team Mimicking Jordan 'Three-Peat' Gesture Mistaken for White Supremacy Sign

A picture of a volleyball team in a Missouri high school was called out for making Michael Jordan's signature "three-peat" hand gesture after it was mistaken for the OK sign that has recently been associated with white supremacy groups.

An alumn from Poplar Bluff High School in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, had seen the picture of the volleyball team, in which all of the students were holding their hands up in the three-peat gesture to celebrate winning their third consecutive championship in something called Powder Buff, a local volleyball tournament played by boys instead of the girls.

Professional basketball player Michael Jordan had made the hand gesture popular after the Chicago Bulls, who he played for in 1984 and again in 1995, won the NBA title three years in a row.

The only difference between the three-peat and the white supremacy sign is the three-peat has the palm turned inward, and the latter turned outward.

"It's most unfortunate that so many are so quick to believe the very worst of one another," the school's superintendent, Scott Dill, told The Kansas City Star.

When the alumn, who remains unnamed, saw the post, she immediately called the students out for what she thought was the hand sign for "white power," posting it to her Facebook where it immediately started being shared.

"It was vicious," Dill added. "People were brutal, commenting on individuals, portraying it as a racist gesture."

The alumn wrote to the Kansas City Star's editorial board asking them to publish her apology. She said she regretted her "faulty assumptions," and took down the Facebook post when she learned she was wrong, but the post had already been widely shared across the platform.

"So I guess the implication is that I'm partly responsible for ruining innocent young lives for forwarding that screenshot," she had emailed. "If true I much regret it."

The Star also divulged that the high school has made headlines before after a student went to class wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood to a class presentation with the teacher's approval.

Dill said things like that, despite posts being taken down, never really go away. "Oh yeah! It's still out there, probably for a long time," he told The Star.

He added: "The students were really taken aback by the comments and when you see someone attacking your kids like that it is hurtful."

A similar instance occurred in April when a three-day returning contestant on the popular trivia game show, Jeopardy, flashed the three-peat gesture, and local viewers began accusing him of showing the white power sign.

@andersoncooper did you notice contestant Kelly Donohue flash the white power sign on the show tonight??? #jeopardy pic.twitter.com/Nw7mbRjMkw

— Nyasha West (@NWestEsq) April 27, 2021

Contestant Kelly Donohue posted on Facebook to say, "Many of the great champions of old had a little signature hello they would do on-screen when being introduced by Johnny Gilbert."

He added, "I decided to count my victories. That's a 1. That's a 2. That's a 3. No more. No less. There wasn't a hidden agenda or any malice behind it. Had I managed to repeat as champion, you'd have been treated to a 4."

Newsweek reached out to the Poplar Bluff School District for further comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

Chicago Bulls v Washington Bullets
Michael Jordan introduced a hand gesture when he was playing for the Chicago Bulls, and a high school volleyball team mimicked it in a picture, but it was mistaken to be a white supremacy hand sign. Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls takes a foul shot during a NBA basketball game against the Washington Bullets on Nov. 3, 1990 at Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. Mitchell Layton/Getty Images