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West Point Clears Cadets of Making White Supremacist Gesture at Army-Navy Game

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2019

Navy midshipmen march before an NCAA college football game against Army, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

An investigation conducted by West Point officials has reportedly determined three cadets were involved in a "misplaced joke" rather than a display of white supremacy during ESPN's College GameDay broadcast for the Army-Navy game on Dec. 14.

The cadets could be seen flashing the "OK" hand symbol on multiple occasions during the broadcast:

TMZ @TMZ

West Point Clears Cadets of Hate Speech Over 'OK' Symbols at Army Navy Football https://t.co/f5V1ahN3bA

The report concluded the gesture was not made in a racist manner, per TMZ Sports:

"The evidence strongly supports a finding that [the cadets] made 'OK' hand gestures during the ESPN broadcast of GameDay because they were playing the 'circle game' or 'gotcha game.' There is no evidence that [the cadets] hold any racist of white supremacist views or attempted to communicate such messages by using the 'OK' hand gesture on national television."

The three cadets who were involved were questioned during the investigation and denied any malicious intent, saying they were only looking "garner attention from a national audience as well as surrounding cadets" as part of the game.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, the hand gesture became associated with white supremacists around the year 2017. The gesture can be viewed as a hate symbol, as a "W" and "P" (which stands for "White Power") are created by the person's fingers.

This is not the first time a fan making the gesture on television has led to an investigation.

In May, a Chicago Cubs fan was banned from Wrigley Field after he made the gesture during a live broadcast behind NBC Sports Chicago reporter Doug Glanville.