College football makes bizarre things happen. For example, this picture of outgoing Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin making a hand sign popularized by Toronto friends of the rapper Drake.
Loftin is a soon-to-be-retired millionaire academic who has lived many of his years in the College Station region. He's probably not making that hand symbol because of his Drake fandom. He's making it because Johnny Manziel did this after throwing a touchdown against Rice:
That in itself isn't all that special. Manziel, a famous amateur athlete and friend of Drake's, has been an avid and vocal supporter of the musician since he was just a regular non-famous amateur athlete. He made that hand gesture after many of his touchdowns last year, and other Aggies have done it as well. Tajh Boyd has also taken to doing it.
But in 2013, Manziel's celebration has taken on extra significance, since it looks like he's rubbing his fingers together to symbolize money, and he was accused of taking money in the offseason to sign autographs. And since he's an amateur player and not a professional, that means he's not allowed to take money.
This has led to A&M fans pointing out that because it's simply a hand gesture from a rapper, it's not an admission of guilt, just an admission of passion for the musical stylings of Drake, and therefore acceptable. And since Loftin and many in the A&M administration have remained steadfast in their support of Manziel, he was apparently proud to co-sign this interpretation without fear of accidentally endorsing his player's alleged illicit payments.
Except, does Loftin's hand gesture even signify money, like we've kind of all assumed? Not just the finger-rubbing, but doing it in tandem with another person, one down low and one inverted above? When people pointed out this was a gesture from Drake's crew, OVO (for whom Manziel has a new tattoo on his right wrist), I sorta nodded and went like, "yeah yeah, I'm sure it is." Since even as an avid Drake listener, I didn't really recall ever seeing that hand gesture.
But doing some internet tracing of the hashtag said Aggie student uses in the Loftin tweet -- "#topszn" -- you can pretty easily find two of Drake's friends, The Regime, making a sprinkly hand gesture, over and over again. It's widely believed to be a reference to a kind of weed they like. And whether that's what it was meant to mean or not, that's what it means now. (Know what we mean?) It's long baffled older Aggie fans.
Does Drake's hand thingy mean he's admitting to taking money from rogue autograph dealers in the offseason? Does it mean he's admitting to smoking weed? It probably does not mean these things, and if it did, I wouldn't care even in the slightest.
No matter the gesture's original meaning, at this point it's basically as sinister as a high five. Pointing fingerguns at somebody doesn't mean you literally want to shoot people, and Loftin playing along with this hand gesture doesn't mean he condones marijuana use.
Photograph posted on Instagram by the bearded man in the GIF above.
What I do care about is that a man wearing a maroon bowtie and a maroon jacket made some esoteric hip-hop hand reference and never considered for an instant what it could possibly mean. But because of Johnny Football, he smiled and sprinkled.
And college football reality is now as strange as college football fiction.