July 23, 2024

OK hand gesture associated with white power at Army-Navy game caused social media uproar

During the annual Army/Navy football game, hand gestures were made that remind some of white nationalists.

Social media messages went crazy during Saturday’s annual Army-Navy football game as cadets were spotted using upside-down “OK” hand gestures associated with the movements of white nationalists.

Reporting from ESPN broadcasting the game has made the rounds online showing West Point cadets and midshipmen from the Naval Academy flashing the upside-down “OK” symbol while journalist Rece Davis delivered a pregame report.

Newsweek details the gesture has had worldwide notoriety for being a sign that shows one is in agreement with someone else but has been commandeered by the modern white nationalist movement. The gesture is now considered an extremist gesture and noted as such by the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights group, just recently in September.

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The ADL mentions in regards to the symbol that “particular care must be taken not to jump to conclusions about the intent behind someone who has used the gesture.” The 2017 article from the ADL reads that the “okay” hand gesture represents the letters “wp” or “white power” in a hoax by members of the bulletin website 4chan, which would eventually become a successful troll to liberals.

Those opposing the idea that this incident is linked to white supremacy state that the gestures were part of “the circle game,” which would allow for the person doing the gesture to punch someone who saw it.

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West Point is investigating the cadets and midshipmen in response to the broadcast’s backlash.

“West Point is looking into the matter,” a spokesperson said in a statement to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “At this time we do not know the intent of the cadets.”

Lieutenant Colonel Chris Ophardt, a spokesperson for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point said to The Wall Street Journal “I don’t know what their intention is.”

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Commander Alana Garas, a spokesperson for the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland stated: “We are aware and will be looking into it.”

Last year, The Associated Press detailed leaders of the U.S. Coast Guard received a reprimand for a similar hand symbol used. The military has also had accusations of racism within its leadership. Vice detailed this past November when three active-duty military soldiers were cited for making racist posts on an online neo-Nazi message board.

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