It's not easy to piss off Fox 5's Ernie Anastos, but last night he was PISSED. Fox 5 reported (and it was further mentioned today in Newsday that Yankees paraphernalia was being sold with traditional gang symbols featured intertwined with the traditional interlocking N & Y. It was fine when the team and hat company were getting some cash for it, but now kids are getting the shit kicked out of them becaue of it. And that's not so fine:
The hats, festooned with a crown above the "NY" or with a red or blue bandanna stitched in, are well-known signs for street gangs such as the Latin Kings, the Crips and the Bloods, according to the Johnny Rivera, president of the Coalition to Protect Our Children, which is leading the fight.That's nice. Before, wearing Yankees gear was only dangerous in Fenway. Now it's dangerous anywhere and it could even get you killed by a fellow Yanks fan. That's no good at all.
"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."
The coalition also is calling on area retailers to pull the hats from their shelves, but so far only one, Tom Dick and Harry's, a sneaker store on Third Avenue, has done so.
The manager of the store, Isaiah Hill, said a friend of his was jumped after wearing one of the bandanna hats in the wrong neighborhood in East New York.
"I don't think kids should get beat up because of a hat," he said.
Gang prevention experts said the caps could trigger a dangerous reaction.
"A lot of times a young person not in a gang will wear one of these items because they like the way they look and people who are gang members respond and react as if the kid is, in fact, in a gang," said Lisa Taylor-Austin, an area counselor.
Alex Alonso, the creator of Web resource streetgangs.com, questioned why manufactures would make the caps.
"They are not being responsible," he said. "They know the audience and they know who is going to buy it. They are making far too much money to do something like that."