Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sports Logos and Gangs

There are many problems that are associated with gangs. One of the main problems is people are often victims of violence because they are mistaken for gang members. Many gang members wear sports team apparel to represent their gangs for one reason or another. The gangs adopt this clothing because the logos or colors relate to their gangs. There are many gangs in Chicago that adopt sports logos as symbols for their gangs.
This practice by gangs first came to my attention after reading a short article in ESPN magazine called “Capology”, which highlighted some of most popular sports caps that are used for gang affiliation. I found it to be very interesting but alarming because many of the gangs mentioned were out of Chicago which completely surrounds the town I live in. I decided to research some of the gangs that are in Chicago and which sports logos that each gang adopted.

One of the first gangs I looked at was the Maniac Latin Disciples which is sprinkled throughout the city. They use logos from the Minnesota Twins, Miami Marlins, and Michigan Wolverines because of the “M” used in each teams’ logo. The next gang I looked into was the Simon City Royals which was established in the Humboldt Park area (which I used to drive through). (Source 4) Some of the logos they use include the Kansas City Royals for the name and their colors. They wear Colorado Rockies gear because gang members draw an “S” in front of the “CR” logo. They also wear Detroit Lions clothing due to the coloring and symbol of a lion. The Satan Disciples wear gear from San Diego Padres for the “S&D” logo. This gang also wears Indiana University and Arizona State University gear due to fact that the IU logo resembles a pitchfork and ASU has a pitchfork logo.
The Gangster disciples are a bigger gang spread through most of the city. They wear Georgetown gear for the “G” symbolizing gangster, also worn for the colors. Georgetown gear is also worn because Hoya (team name) is an acronym for “Hoovers on your ass” in honor of the gangs founder Larry Hoover. (Source2)This gang also wears gear from the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Dodgers for their “D” emblems and their blue color scheme. Members of this gang can also be seen wearing Houston Astros and Dallas Cowboys gear to honor their alliance to the Folk Nation.
The Latin Kings wear gear from the Los Angeles and Sacramento Kings due to the name and the black in the colors of both teams. They also wear gear from the Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers because of the black and yellow colors. The Vice Lords an alliance to the Latin Kings wear gear from several sports teams. The Vice Lords wear gear from the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks for their colors. They also wear St. Louis Cardinals gear for the colors and the “SL” stands for Spanish lord. University of Nevada Las Vegas is also popular with the vice lords not only for the colors but UNLV backwards is an acronym “Vice Lords Nation United”. (Source 2)

 Many sports teams if not all are adopted by gangs for some reason or another. Not everyone who wears sports apparel is a gang member. However if you are going through the city and a person is wear a certain teams gear and is in fact part of a gang you can now identify which gang he/she may be a part of. Many people are not aware of gang symbols and how they may adopt sports logos as their own. It is nice to be aware of things that are going on around you.  In an article I read, one Chicago cop that worked in the gang enforcement unit was upset about Arizona State’s new logo, a pitchfork. He stated that because of the resemblance to the Satan Disciples existing pitchfork logo the gang was most likely going to adopt the logo as its own. (Source 1) 

Source 1

           Source 2
           Source 3
           Source 4
           Source 5 



  1. Great read and even better subject. Michael, you really looked outside the box for this and it was a homerun. Persoanlly, I would have never associated so much gang violence with the use of team apparel. After reading this blog, I started jogging my memory of all the cop movies and television shows I've seen where a gang member is wearing an LA Dodgers hat. Soon, I recognized countless movies are guilty of this. Gangs are crafty and the way they choose to represent their logos and colors are more complex than many people imagine. Departments devote entire units and squads solely to gang related activity. This just goes to show the amount of effort and work these officers put into researching gangs. Additionally, sports logos and gangs must be worse than I thought if ESPN the magazine is devoting an entire section to it. This really sparked my interest about team apparel and gangs. Fans should be aware of their apparel when attending sports events and traveling through certain areas. We have seen all too often a sports fan being beaten badly, sometimes fatally, because he or she was wearing the wrong color at the wrong time.

  2. That was an extremely interesting article. I am actually from Chicago and I was not aware of the correlation between gang affiliation and sports logos. It makes a lot of sense though, once you think about how easy it would be to tie something as universal and standard as a letter or color (which is really all any sports cap is) into a gang affiliation. It's a clever concept as well, because this makes it easier for them to walk around with a blatant representation of their gang showing in public, without really drawing any extra attention from police. Very good article.

  3. Great job on a very real problem in our city. You really did a good job on uncovering unique symbols associated to specific gangs. It is scary to imagine being associated with a gang just for wearing your favorite collegian or professional teams apparel. With how violent these gangs are notoriously known for being, wearing the wrong sports cap in the wrong area could prove deadly. I know I will take the time to dig a little deeper on this specific topic. Great job Michael.

  4. This was an interesting article, it just shows you that gang's are creative and also dangerous in using sport logos to represent their gangs. Its dangerous because majority of people wear hats with sport teams listed on the front, and it does not mean they are in a gang. It sad that innocent people walking down a street can get killed because they are wearing a hat that is gang related. It is also sad that people can't wear what they want to wear in fear of being jumped or killed by gang members. This was a very great topic to address.

  5. I really enjoyed this article I remember being in school and they wouldn't allow us to wear team jersey's because of the gang symbols on them. I actually have not thought about this in years. I never knew about the hats and what they mean.I don't think the average person really thinks about gang affiliation when they put on their teams hat but the consequences could be violent.