President Donald Trump applauds a flyover while seated with Navy midshipman during halftime of the Army-Navy NCAA college football game, Dec. 14, 2019, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
President Donald Trump applauds a flyover while seated with Navy midshipman during halftime of the Army-Navy NCAA college football game, Dec. 14, 2019, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Wall Street Journal reports that officials at the U.S. Army and Navy academies say they have launched an investigation into whether their students flashed "white power" hand signs during a nationally televised football game Saturday that President Donald Trump attended.

The newspaper says that West Point cadets and Annapolis midshipmen appeared to have flashed the hand signs during the annual Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia.

The Journal says authorities at both military schools say they have not "determined" the intent of the sign which is similar to the "OK" sign.  

The Anti-Defamation League warns on its website, however, that "someone who uses the symbol cannot be assumed to be using the symbol in either a trolling or, especially, white supremacist context unless other contextual evidence exists to support the contention. Since 2017, many people have been falsely accused of being racist or white supremacist for using the 'okay' gesture in its traditional and innocuous sense."

A U.S. Coast Guard officer was reprimanded last year for flashing a similar hand sign during a television broadcast.