Gang culture is a big problem in most American cities with sizable populations and hordes of ethnicities. Its sort of a transplantation of the primitive tribal culture in the advanced American heartland. Even the behavior is not much different if you discount the outwardly appearances.
But now the worrying trend is that all this gang culture is finding an expression on the playing fields.
There was a time when phrases like ‘The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton’ signifying the appreciation of gentlemanly conduct on the sporting field.
Those times are long gone by.
In a growing sign of change, NFL recently hired experts to study the on-field behavior from past tapes to review whether players are displaying and promoting gang signs.
Gang signs in professional sports became especially news worthy after the NBA playoffs, when Boston Celtics captain Paul Pierce was fined $25,000 for making menacing gestures toward the Atlanta Hawks’ bench during a game.
Pierce apologized at the time, saying in a statement “I 100 percent do not in any way promote gang violence or anything close to it. I am sorry if it was misinterpreted that way.”
However this incident led to first-year players being counseled on gangs at the league’s recent rookie symposium, and a video on the dangers of gangs became compulsory viewing for every player in the NFL last year.
Personally speaking, differentiating between a gang sign and something less menacing can involve a bit of a guesswork, but still, I think its always better to err on the side of the caution and tell the players to refrain from it.
In no circumstances should the impressionalbe youth, who look upto these sports stars as role models, should get the idea that these players support gangs or gang culture.
Gangs are not cool.