- The Washington Times - Monday, December 16, 2019

Officials at West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis have confirmed they will investigate hand gestures by cadets and midshipmen at the recent Army-Navy football game that some have said was a coded sign of support for white supremacists.

But a furious debate has erupted online over the “OK” sign flashed by a few academy members at the game, with many saying the students are being slandered by politically correct critics for what was in fact an innocent gesture.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw, Texas Republican and a former Navy SEAL who was medically retired from the Navy after he was wounded in combat, said the cadets and midshipmen under scrutiny are victims of an “outrage culture” always ready to believe the worst about those who want to serve in the military.

Mr. Crenshaw said the “A-OK” gesture that was captured by TV cameras filming the crowd reaction in Philadelphia was obviously part of the “Circle Game,” where one person displays the gesture and someone gets punched in the arm if they are tricked into seeing it.

In a Twitter message, Rep. Crenshaw said the gesture may have been “childish” but was harmless.

“It’s to make normal behavior seem offensive and dangerous, thus giving the mob justification for public shaming and ‘woke’ scolding,” Rep. Crenshaw said in his Twitter message.

The service academies, however, clearly felt the pressure to determine what happened

“The U.S. Military Academy is fully committed to developing leaders of character who embody the Army values,” West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams said in a statement. “I have appointed an Investigating officer … to conduct an administrative investigation into the facts, circumstances and intent of the cadets in question.”

The investigation is “necessary to determine if administrative actions will be required,” West Point officials said.

The U.S. Naval Academy also confirmed they have launched an inquiry into the hand gestures.

“Based on the findings of the investigation, those involved will be held appropriately accountable. It would be inappropriate to speculate any further while we are conducting this investigation,” an academy spokesman said.

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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