The NFL has hired "gang experts" to review tape of touchdown celebrations to see if players are flashing any type of gang signs. Longtime NFL columnist Sam Farmer of the LA Times first reported the NFL is reviewing tape to see if players are flashing the signs.
While the NFL has always been concerned about any type of affiliation, be it real or perceived, between NFL players and gangs, the heat was turned up after the death of Darrent Williams. Williams was involved with in an altercation with suspected gang members prior to being gunned down. There were also pictures on Williams' MYSpace page where he is flashing known gang signs.
"There have been some suspected things we've seen," said Milt Ahlerich, the league's vice president of security. "When we see it, we quietly jump on it immediately, directly with the team and the player or employee involved to cease and desist. Period."
The NFL also paid attention to the actions of the NBA, when in April Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics was fined $25K for flashing "menacing gestures" towards the Atlanta Hawks bench. After watching the gestures on tape the NBA acted swiftly and harshly.
"We were always suspicious that [gang-related hand signals] might be happening," said Mike Pereira, the NFL's vice president of officiating. "But the Paul Pierce thing is what brought it to light. When he was fined . . . that's when we said we need to take a look at it and see if we need to be aware of it."
NFL Officials won't try to identify the gestures, but will notify the League office it they are suspicious of any activity.
"It will be dealt with harshly. The commissioner is not going to stand for gang signals on the field.", added Pereira.
While I think this is a valiant effort to try and keep the game "clean", proving such actions are going to be tough. Think about it, if I score a TD, and give the "W" gesture with my hand, can't I claim it stood for Washington or Win?? As always, I welcome your thoughts.