Service academy students were seen on national television flashing the “OK” hand sign, which can also be interpreted as a hand gesture used by white supremacists.
“We’re looking into it. I don’t know what their intention is,” West Point spokesman Lt. Col. Chris Ophardt told the Wall Street Journal of the incident. The gestures were made by West Point cadets and Annapolis midshipmen at the Army versus Navy NCAA football game on Saturday in Philadelphia, where Donald Trump was also present.
Trump has been accused of using the gesture while speaking about Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during a speech this summer, Rolling Stone reports.
The Anti-Defamation League explains on its website that although the sign has been embraced by white supremacist groups, the rationale for the gesture still needs to be studied on a case-by-case basis.
“The overwhelming usage of the ‘OK’ hand gesture today is still its traditional purpose as a gesture signifying assent or approval,” the site reads. “As a result, someone who uses the symbol cannot be assumed to be using the symbol in either a trolling or, especially, white supremacist context unless other contextual evidence exists to support the contention.”