Thursday, July 17, 2008


With the news yesterday that the NFL is planning on cracking down on players who show 'gang signs' during games, I think the Big Brother nature of professional sports has hit a new low. How exactly is the league going to determine what a particular hand gesture means? Will they use some sort of a chart to compare known signs and a guy's on-field actions?

The NFL is citing Paul Pierce's alleged gang sign throwing during the Celtics' first round playoff series against the Hawks as the reason for this new crusade against individuality. I don't know if this is really a gang sign or what, but even if it is, who does this hurt? How many people knew it might be gang related until the league told everyone it was?

Currently the NFL prohibits celebrations with teammates after touchdowns, wearing different socks than are league-sanctioned and now is forbidding the use of 'questionable' hand signals. Dennis Northcutt was quoted as saying that the thing Paul Pierce was doing could be a gang sign but it also might be a coach's signal for a different personnel group that needs to be in the game based on formation, play, whatever. That's a great point. How will the league distinguish? Will they ask every team for a detailed explanation of individual hand signals? Isn't it possible too that teams use dummy signals so that cheaters like the Patriots have a harder time breaking the code? And how does the league know a guy isn't giving a tribute to his kids? Or for his fraternity?

Is this a gang sign? Is this? Is this?

This seems like another ridiculous reactionary step by the NFL front office to completely curtail any uniqueness a player might try to exhibit. There are so few outlets for doing that now, especially since the league will even fine you for honoring a fallen teammate for longer than the league sees fit. I realize that gangs can be a real problem in a lot of places and I don't want to play that down, but is the NFL really a breeding ground for the recruitment or celebration of gangs?

1 comment:

Ravan said...

See this sign explained on