The United States Military Academy at West Point announced Friday that they finished investigating the alleged white supremacist hand gestures made at the Dec. 14 Army-Navy Game. As they describe it, there was an innocent explanation: cadets were playing the “circle game.”
“We investigated this matter thoroughly,” said Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, 60th superintendent, #USMA. “Last Saturday we had reason to believe these actions were an innocent game and not linked to extremism, but we must take allegations such as these very seriously.”
— U.S. Military Academy (@WestPoint_USMA) December 20, 2019
The controversy stemmed from ESPN footage showing some attendees at the football game making an “ok gesture” on camera. Some viewers interpreted this as a white supremacist gesture.
— NiniMusic (@NeoSoul87) December 14, 2019
The meaning of the “ok gesture” has been muddied in recent years, and took on an alternate meaning as a white supremacy symbol. According to The Anti-Defamation League, this started as a hoax on the infamous site 4chan, but it gained credence in reality when actual white supremacists started using it.
Some, however, including U.S. Rep. Daniel Crenshaw (R-Texas, 2nd District) said at the time that the attendees were clearly playing the circle game.
The Army said that the cadets involved will get “appropriate administrative and/or disciplinary actions.”
“Racist statements, gestures and symbols have no place in our Army,” Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. James C. McConville, said in a statement. “The investigation determined there was no racist intent by cadets. The American people trust our Soldiers to do the right things the right way. We must be mindful of behavior which brings that trust into question and ensure our actions meet the high ethical and professional standards our nation expects the American Soldier to uphold.”
[Screengrab via ESPN and NeoSoul87]