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AFL Club Responds After Players Were Criticised For 'Flashing White Power Hand Sign'

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AFL Club Responds After Players Were Criticised For 'Flashing White Power Hand Sign'

What was meant to be a silly and innocuous game in a post-match photo has been stirred up as something much bigger.

The West Coast Eagles team gathered in their changing room to celebrate their win over Fremantle on Sunday (May 2) night.

Several players did what's known as the Circle Game, where you make a circle with your thumb and index finger and place it below your waist.

Anyone who looks at the circle cops a punch to the arm.

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However, after the photo was posted to Instagram, many people thought the players were flashing the white power hand sign.

One person wrote: "I really hope that hand signal a bunch of them are doing has another meaning, because I've seen that hand signal used as a gesture of white supremacy... so maybe ask the lads to quit doing that one?"

Others commented with the same emoji as the hand sign, noting its appearance in the photo.

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The exact same finger arrangement has been taken over by the far-right movement in recent years, with the middle, ring and pinky fingers indicating the W and the thumb and index fingers as well the wrist signing the P.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) declared the okay sign had changed in meaning in September 2019 and added the symbol to its long-standing 'Hate on Display' database of slogans and symbols used by extremists.

While many people will likely still recognise the sign as something positive, the ADL said it has been co-opted by the alt-right after a hoax post on 4chan claimed it was linked to white supremacy.

Credit: Anti-Defamation League
Credit: Anti-Defamation League
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Despite it being a hoax, people like the Christchurch terrorist, who killed 51 people, flashed it during a court appearance and several individuals have also been caught putting it up to send a message.

However the West Coast Eagles insists the players who have been accused of making the white power sign were definitely playing the circle game.

"We have asked questions and it is all to do with the circle game," a spokesperson for the club told The West Australian. "It's juvenile and should not have been a part of the post-game photo."

But the hand sign wasn't the only thing people had an issue with in the photo.

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Many had a problem with the fact the team everyone in the team was wearing a face mask.

Featured Image Credit: West Coast Eagles/Instagram

Topics: Australia

Stewart Perrie
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