A group of concerned parents have asked the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball to stop selling caps with designs that have colors and symbols directly tied to street gang affiliations.
The hats have the “NY” logo but display bandannas in red and blue or have symbols that have direct ties to the Bloods, Crips, and Latin Kings street gangs (see image provided) according to Johnny Rivera, president of the Coalition to Protect Our Children, which is leading the fight. As reported by Newsday:
"These corporations are capitalizing on known friction within communities of color," Rivera said.
"Any 11-year-old could buy one of these and get jumped if they walk in the wrong neighborhood because they don't know the signs."
New Era Cap Co., the maker of the hats, and the New York Yankees, did not respond to repeated requests for comment, but a spokesperson for Major League Baseball said: "Major League Baseball was not previously aware of the symbolism of the cap design and, of course, is very concerned about the issue."
Coalition to Protect Our Children has asked local retailers to pull the products from the shelves, but according to the report, “only Tom Dick and Harry's, a sneaker store on Third Avenue, has done so.”
Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.
He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.