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MSNBC Guest: Cadets and Midshipmen Have to Be Taught to Not Use the 'OK' Hand Gesture

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Posted: Dec 23, 2019 3:35 PM

MSNBC guest Naveed Jamali told host Joy Ann Reid on Sunday the cadets of West Point and midshipmen of the Naval Academy must be taught using the "ok" sign is no longer a good thing.

Reid and Jamali were discussing the findings of West Point and the Naval Academy's investigation into those in attendance at the Army-Navy game making the "ok" hand gesture after people on social media accused them of making the white power symbol. The investigations cleared the cadets and midshipmen, saying they were playing the circle game.

"The investigating officer concluded that the cadets were playing a common game, popular among teenagers today, known as the 'circle game' and the intent was not associated with ideologies or movements that are contrary to the Army values," West Point explained in a press release. "The investigator found that the game was being played in the stands before the ESPN host moved into the crowd. Based on the results of the investigation, those cadets involved will receive appropriate administrative and/or disciplinary actions."

"We’re starting to see that kind of investigation having to happen. It frightens me as a civilian to think that the military is also having to deal with this because obviously, this is an armed entity with a lot of power and potential," Reid said.

“That’s a very good point. And, look, Joy, that should have been a teachable moment. Malcolm said it best that this is — look, you’re 18, 19 years old. You grow up in a small town you’re now suddenly moving in with people that you have never seen before. It’s understandable that there might be a chance to learn here," Jamali said.

"On the flip side of this, when we talk about white nationalism, what is the main part of white nationalism or any ideology is symbolism, is the idea of iconography, the idea that there are symbols that represent that ideology," he continued. "Now I don’t doubt that those midshipmen and that West Point cadet were actually not doing the white power symbol, but it’s got to be something that we teach. It shouldn’t be something that’s okay. They should understand why it’s not okay to do that."

Before the investigations had even started, endless amounts of people advocated for the cadets and midshipmen to be punished, resulting in an accusatory-style news cycle.