Accusations that a “white power” hand gesture was by used by cadets during the Army-Navy football game on Saturday has prompted the military to look into the matter.
During the rivalry football game between the Army and Navy teams on Saturday, West Point cadets were seen making hand signs that some have alleged are a white supremacist symbol. The hand sign is the symbol commonly used to mean “okay.”
Lt. Col. Chris Ophardt told the Washington Post in an email that “West Point is looking into the matter” and that “at this time, we do not know the intent of the cadets.”
The Anti Defamation League has added the hand sign to their hate symbols database, saying that although the “okay” sign was promoted as a white supremacist hand gesture by members of 4chan in 2017, “some white supremacists themselves soon also participated in such trolling tactics.”
The ADL added that “the overwhelming usage of the ‘okay’ hand gesture today is still its traditional purpose,” adding that “many people have been falsely accused of being racist or white supremacist” for using the sign in an innocuous manner. (RELATED: NASCAR Stars Say No Disrespect For Obama)
Regardless, controversy erupted after the symbol was seen on television, with many claiming that the symbol had racist implications.
Cadets are supposed to be our best and brightest. And this guy flashes a White Power symbol on TV. And over the shoulder of his fellow cadet of color. A disgraceful sign of the era. https://t.co/PghoSeNbb5
— Bryan Behar (@bryanbehar) December 15, 2019
As an American,
As a Navy Dad,
As a decent human being…
…you hate to see racist West Point cadets emboldened by the presence of the Racist-inChief at an #ArmyNavyGame to throw up the “White Power” sign on national TV.
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) December 14, 2019
White cadets throwing up the white power symbol on national TV during the #ArmyNavyGame.
But racism is dying out with this generation, right?
Nah, it’s being passed down and is alive and thriving in white America.pic.twitter.com/OSPFMFUPri
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) December 15, 2019
Many pushed back on the assumption that the symbol was used as a white supremacist gesture and argued that the outrage was baseless.
Look at Tom casually smearing cadets & midshipmen because he bought into the initial framing of the story, tweeted out a condemnation, got called out, deleted it, but couldn’t bring himself to admit he was a dumbass for jumping to conclusions so he still has to trash them anyway. https://t.co/Ch5QFS14UA
— JERRY DUNLEAVY (@JerryDunleavy) December 15, 2019
Here we go again. This time it’s @ByMikeBrehm of @usatodaysports trying to ruin the lives of cadets for playing the circle game, because in some alternate reality they just MUST be white supremacists. At some point someone’s gotta bring a defamation case against these lunatics. https://t.co/2Y8iaB1kVw
— Cliff Sims (@Cliff_Sims) December 15, 2019
Some Twitter users also pointed out that the hand gesture could have been used as part of a game called the “circle game” where someone holds a circle below their waist trying to get others to look at it. If someone looks at it they get a punch on the shoulder.
You were a refugee and now slander our nation’s military cadets for playing the Circle Game?
You must have your own racial issues to deal with to flagrantly defame cadets, their reputation and their future.
— Jessie Jane Duff (@JessieJaneDuff) December 15, 2019