The U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point are reportedly investigating a possible “white power” hand gesture at the Army-Navy game in Philly over the weekend.
Clips surfaced showing students from each academy making the gesture, which can be described as an upside-down “OK” hand gesture, during the pre-game broadcast. The clips have attracted attention on social media.
“Just wanted to enjoy the #ArmyNavy. Didn’t expect or want to see the White Power symbol thrown up by cadets on national television,” said Twitter user @BruthaManTho, along with images and a video of the incident. “They are well aware of what they are doing and think it’s funny. Disgusting. #ArmyNavyGame.”
— Fella (@BruthaManTho) December 14, 2019
The gesture has been classified as a symbol promoting white power, according to the Anti-Defamation League. However, it is open to interpretation, and sometimes the symbol represents a harmless “OK” or something known as a “circle game,” which is an attempt to trick another person into looking at the symbol, made somewhere below the waist.
Twitter user @BrendonJennings tweeted, “Our country has gone SOFT as hell. Saying that this kid is throwing the “White Power” sign is an absolute joke. It’s the circle game. Stop getting so bent out of shape over little things that mean nothing. People just getting offended to say their [sic] offended at this point.”
Our country has gone SOFT as hell. Saying that this kid is throwing the “White Power” sign is an absolute joke. It’s the circle game. Stop getting so bent out of shape over little things that mean nothing. People just getting offended to say their offended at this point https://t.co/jI1Is9d95Y
— Brendon Jennings (@BrendonJennings) December 16, 2019
After the footage went viral, West Point shared in a statement to Inquirer.com saying “West Point is looking into the matter” and said “at this time we do not know the intent of the cadets.”
On Sunday, The Naval Academy launched an investigation as well.
Cmdr. Alana Garas, a Naval Academy spokesperson, said in a statement to Inquirer.com, “U. S. Naval Academy officials have appointed a preliminary inquiry officer to conduct an internal investigation into the hand gestures made during the ESPN’ College GameDay’ broadcast prior to [Saturday’s] Army-Navy game.”
Garas added, “Based on findings of the investigation, those involved will be held appropriately accountable. It would be inappropriate to speculate any further while we are conducting this investigation.”