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Real Reason Herky Never Smiles Discovered by WRNL

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The answer shouldn’t be surprising to you.

Iowa v Michigan State Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images

Over the past day or two, you’ve probably heard the story of the University of Iowa professor who wants the school’s mascot — Herky — to show a wider range of facial expressions.

“I believe incoming students should be met with welcoming, nurturing, calm, accepting and happy messages,” Resmiye Oral, a clinical professor of pediatrics at UI, wrote recently in an email to UI athletic department officials. ... “However, Herky’s angry, to say the least, faces conveying an invitation to aggressivity and even violence are not compatible with the verbal messages that we try to convey to and instill in our students and campus community.”

WRNL shares Oral’s concern and wanted to dive deeper into the story to find out why Herky never smiles and always seems to have a giant stick up his ass.

First, we dove into the archives. More specifically, the world’s most trusted source of information: Wikipedia. According to Herky the Hawk’s Wiki page, a guy by the name of Richard “Dick” Spencer originally drew a caricature for the university’s athletic department. His drawing was then turned into the mascot who later came to be known as Herky.

So that’s that, right? Due to the drawing of Dick, which was likely meant to be menacing and intimidating, Herky was forever destined to have a mean face... Thus, Oral can go ahead and blame Dick for being too aggressive.

Or so we thought.

Unconvinced, we broke out our investigative journalism glasses and decided to go straight to the source: Herky himself.

We asked Herky why he always looks so angry. To Iowa State fans, the answer shouldn’t be very shocking.

“Squawk squawk, squawk squawk,” said the black and gold mascot.

Translation: “Having to be around Iowa fans all the time is a living hell. It’s as simple as that. They’re rude, they’re vulgar, they smell funny, and they do things that embarrass the university all the time. You’d be angry too if your life’s sole purpose was to interact with those people.”

Big Ten Basketball Tournament - First Round
That look when you’re surrounded by thousands of Iowa fans.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

We couldn’t agree more with Herky. We can barely stomach having to brush shoulders with our neighbors to the east twice a year for football and basketball, let alone 365 days a year.

Admittedly, we feel a little bad for Herky. The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence, but it must be especially so for Herky since Cy has a huge grin on his face all the time when he’s hanging with the best fans in the world in Ames.

Iowa State v Kansas
Cy, chillin’ with the world’s best fans.
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

WRNL sends our deepest condolences to Herky. Perhaps he can escape the terrible situation in Iowa City someday, fly to a nature reserve or farm for old mascots, and smile for the first time in his life.