The US Army and Navy academies are investigating hand signs associated with white supremacist groups that were flashed by students and televised during the Army-Navy football match on Saturday night.
Cadets at West Point and midshipmen at the Naval Academy in the stands both appeared to display the sign during the broadcast, officials told The Wall Street Journal. The gesture was seen during part of an ESPN broadcast of the match at from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
Academy officials said they are trying to determine what the hand signals were meant to convey.
“We’re looking into it,” Lt. Col. Chris Ophardt, a spokesperson for the US Military Academy at West Point in New York, told the newspaper. “I don’t know what their intention is.”
“We are aware and will be looking into it,” said Commander Alana Garas, a spokesperson for the US Naval Academy, in Annapolis, Maryland.
The hand sign is similar to the one often used to indicate “OK,” but the Anti-Defamation League says it has lately been used as an extremist meme, in part because of its ambiguity.
US Coast Guard leaders last year reprimanded an officer who used a similar hand sign during a television broadcast. This year, a Chicago Cubs fan was banned from a match for making the gesture.
The Navy won the 120th annual match 31-7. President Donald Trump took the field during the coin toss and visited both teams’ locker rooms before the game.