The hand sign appeared to be displayed both by West Point cadets and Annapolis midshipmen during a broadcast of the annual Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia, but U.S. Military Academy officials haven’t yet determined their intent, according to a West Point spokesman. A U.S. Naval Academy spokeswoman said the academy is also checking on the matter…
Last year, the Coast Guard came under criticism when a member of the service used a similar hand sign while in the background of a television broadcast. Coast Guard leadership issued an official reprimand to the officer who used the hand sign.
The hand sign used is what looks like the “okay” sign, where the thumb and forefinger make a circle and the remaining three fingers are fully extended. The sign has also been used in what’s known as the “circle game” where someone extends the “OK” sign and if another person is tricked into looking at it, that second person gets punched in the arm. The sign took on a different significance for some people around 2017, according to the Anti-Defamation League, when it began to be used to signify white power.
The ambiguity of the symbol was part of the reason it was used as an extremist meme, the ADL says.