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‘OK’ is okay: Military probe clears West Point cadets of ‘racist’ motive in hand gestures during football game

‘OK’ is okay: Military probe clears West Point cadets of ‘racist’ motive in hand gestures during football game
Army and Navy cadets accused of flashing “white power” hand signals during a televised football game have been absolved of “racist” intent, a military investigation determined, instead finding it was part of an “innocent game.”

Confirming what many had already surmised, the military’s internal investigation said the cadets were not motivated by “ideologies or movements that are contrary to the Army values” in displaying the gestures at the football match last weekend – known to most as the ‘OK’ symbol.

“We investigated this matter thoroughly. 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,” Lieutenant General Darryl Williams, 60th superintendent of the US Military Academy, said in a statement on Friday.

Also on rt.com Media clutches its pearls over ‘white power’ hand gesture at Army v Navy football game… but was it really there?

Williams was referring to the ‘circle game’, in which one player makes a circle with their hand and holds it below waist-level, attempting to make others look at it. The game has been played in schoolyards, workplaces and, apparently, military academies across the country for decades.

Despite clearing the cadets of the charges of bigotry – which first emerged on Twitter and spread like wildfire through Western media – the military nonetheless said it was “disappointed by [their] immature behavior,” adding that they would face some form of disciplinary action, without specifying the punishment.

While the investigation is unlikely to assuage those convinced the age-old hand gesture is a modern form of the swastika, many on social media were outraged that the trivial incident became such a controversy, some suggesting the military probe was a waste of time and tax dollars.

“With all due respect, these kids were playing, a GAME,” one netizen said. “I’m sure the academy is serious and no joke. But, they were at a football, GAME. I still have faith in all of those cadets, even after playing, a GAME.”

Some commenters also noted that the gesture is universally understood as non-controversial beyond the confines of liberal Twitter and professional umbrage-taking organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Attempts to associate the ‘OK’ signal with white supremacy began in 2017, soon after the anonymous online message board 4Chan launched what it called “Operation O-KKK,” an elaborate trolling effort designed to outrage the political left and trick mainstream media outlets into manufacturing a racially-charged scandal out of nothing. The troll “operation” apparently bore fruit.

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