Culture

West Point, Annapolis Investigate Complaints of 'White Power' Sign at Army-Navy Game

Officials at West Point and the Naval Academy said they are investigating why three students displayed the “okay” sign, which some organizations claim to be a “white power” symbol.

During the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia on Saturday, two West Point cadets and one Naval Academy midshipman standing behind ESPN’s Rece Davis made the sign for the camera.

Officials from both military academies said they would investigate the matter.

“West Point is looking into the matter,” Lt. Col. Chris Ophardt told The New York Times and The Washington Post. “At this time, we do not know the intent of the cadets.”

Commander Alana Garas, a spokesperson for the Naval Academy, said in a statement to the Associated Press, “we are aware and will be looking into it.”

Both the Times and the Post cited the Southern Poverty Law Center — a scandal-plagued far-left smear factory that has paid millions in a defamation lawsuit — and the Anti-Defamation League. The symbol is formed by “the thumb and forefinger joined together in a circle, the remaining three fingers splayed out behind,” the Times reported. The paper also cited the SPLC saying that white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and Ku Klux Klansmen “have increasingly begun using the use of the symbol both to signal their presence to the like-minded, as well as to identify potentially sympathetic recruits among young trolling artists flashing it.”

In other words, the SPLC admits that some people using the symbol are merely trolling, and that seems the most likely explanation of these cadets’ actions. Officials need not make a federal case out of this, but in America’s culture of outrage, it seems every offhand gesture must be investigated.

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.