Inventor of the Foam Finger: Miley Cyrus took an 'honorable icon' and 'degraded it' at 2013 MTV VMAs

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Robin Thicke, left, and Miley Cyrus perform at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo by Scott Gries/Invision/AP)

Steve Chmelar was 16-years-old when he invented the concept that would later become the foam finger, formally known as the original "No. 1 finger" - a prop intended to support his high school basketball team in 1971 at the Iowa state championships.

What the 59-year-old Vice President of commercial sales at a construction supply company did not intend for his invention, was for it to be used by Miley Cyrus in such a manner during her controversial Sunday performance at the VMAs. Chmelar, who didn't see her moves live on Sunday, told FoxSports.com that he watched it after a family member told him about it via Facebook.

The actual patent for the original No. 1 finger belongs to a man named Geral Fauss, who started selling the first foam finger at the 1987 Cottom Bowl.

"I would say that it certainly misrepresented its intent to encourage team support," he said of how the item was used during the show. "She took an honorable icon that is seen in sporting venues everywhere and degraded it."

He adds, "Fortunately, the foam finger has been around long enough that it will survive this incident. As for Miley Cyrus, let's hope she can outlive this event and also survive."

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