Officials Investigating After “White Power” Gesture Seen at Army-Navy Game

Several cadets were spotted flashing the hand gesture during the broadcast of the game

President Donald Trump watches the game during the Army-Navy game on December 14, 2019 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia PA.(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
President Donald Trump watches the game during the Army-Navy game on December 14, 2019 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia PA.(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
By Bonnie Stiernberg / December 15, 2019 12:12 pm

West Point and Annapolis officials are investigating after several cadets and midshipmen were seen flashing what appeared to be a “white power” hand gesture during the broadcast of the annual Army-Navy football game on Saturday (Dec. 14).

“We’re looking into it,” Lt. Col. Chris Ophardt, a West Point spokesman, told the Wall Street Journal. “I don’t know what their intention is.” Because the gesture is similar to the “okay” symbol in which a person makes a circle with their thumb and index finger and extends their other three fingers, it can be difficult to determine the intended meaning behind it.

The Anti-Defamation League points out that the ambiguity — and thus, plausible deniability — is exactly why it was embraced by alt-right extremists. However, it adds that people shouldn’t jump to conclusions. “Because of the traditional meaning of the ‘OK’ hand gesture, as well as other usages unrelated to white supremacy, particular care must be taken not to jump to conclusions about the intent behind someone who has used the gesture,” the Anti-Defamation League said.

An Annapolis spokeswoman told the Journal that the academy will be looking into the gesture as well. “We are aware and will be looking into it,” spokeswoman Cmdr. Alana Garas said.

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