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Hand Gestures in Stands Are Receiving a Closer Look

'White power' sign appeared to show up in broadcast of Army-Navy game
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 15, 2019 10:45 AM CST
Navy midshipmen celebrate a touchdown during the first half of the game against Army on Saturday in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

(Newser) – The Army and Navy academies are looking into hand signs flashed by students that can be associated with "white power" and were televised during the Army-Navy football game on Saturday, school officials said. Cadets at West Point and midshipmen at the Naval Academy in the stands both appeared to display the sign during the broadcast, officials with the two military academies told the Wall Street Journal. The gesture was seen during an ESPN broadcast segment, the AP reports. School officials are trying to determine what the hand signals were meant to convey, they said. "I don’t know what their intention is," Lt. Col. Chris Ophardt, a spokesperson for the US Military Academy at West Point in New York, told the Journal. President Trump attended the game.

"We are aware and will be looking into it," said Cmdr. Alana Garas, a spokesperson for the US Naval Academy, in Annapolis, Maryland. The Pentagon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The sign is described as "the thumb and forefinger joined together in a circle, the remaining three fingers splayed out behind" by the Southern Poverty Law Center, per NBC. Coast Guard leaders last year reprimanded an officer who used a similar hand sign during a television broadcast.

(Read more white power stories.)

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