Officials at the Army and Navy academies are investigating whether hand signs flashed by students standing behind a reporter during a TV interview were meant to convey a message of white supremacy.
The gesture has been used in a trolling manner in the past, but the "OK" sign forms the letters "W" and "P" to represent "white power".
Military officials say they are looking into why Army and Navy academy students flashed the "OK" hand sign on live TV during the Army-Navy football game - a gesture that has become associated with "white power".
A spokeswoman for the academy says in an email Sunday that those involved will be held appropriately accountable based on findings of the investigation.
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"West Point is looking into the matter". Others saw it more innocuously, believing the gesture was a sign that is part of the "Circle Game" played by kids.
"I have appointed an Investigating Officer according to Army Regulation 15-6, to conduct an administrative investigation into the facts, circumstances, and intent of the Cadets in question". "At this time we do not know the intent of the cadets". The "OK" hand symbol was adopted as a sign by white supremacists after the image board 4chan spread the idea as a hoax in 2017.
President Donald Trump, who has been accused of emboldening racist behavior during his first term, took the field for the ceremonial coin toss wearing a hat that read, "Keep America Great". An abbreviation for the phrase, "God forgives, brothers don't", it has appeared for several years on a rally flag carried into games by the Black Knights, and it reportedly was featured on some team-related merchandise.
The Navy beat the Army 31-7 at the Saturday football game in Philadelphia, ending a three-game losing streak.