Official Major League Baseball caps blatantly featuring colors and symbols for some of America's deadliest street gangs are turning up on store shelves in Harlem, MyFOXNY.com reported Friday.
Outraged local activists charge that New Era, the caps' manufacturer, and the New York Yankees — whose famous interlocking NY cap features a choice of a red and black bandanna design for the Bloods, blue and gray for the Crips and a gold crown for the Latin Kings — and Major League Baseball are deliberately marketing to gang members and wannabes.
"Companies involved should not profit from the promotion of gang affiliation, which leads only to gang violence," the activists, who call themselves the Coalition to Protect Our Children, said in a statement. The coalition is concerned that unsuspecting kids could buy one of the hats, wear it in the wrong turf and then be targeted for attack.
The group marched Thursday in East Harlem to try to pressure local shops into pulling the caps from their shelves. One store operator agreed to do so, MyFOXNY.com reported.
Meanwhile, an MLB official claimed the league was not aware that the designs were gang-related.
"Major League Baseball … is very concerned about the issue," said Silvia Alvarez, the league's director of multicultural and charitable communications, in a statement. She indicated that MLB would encourage and support the pulling of these caps from stores.
The Coalition to Protect our Children said the group would continue its efforts to stop the sale of caps with gang colors and symbols and plans to hold gang-awareness workshops for families in the community.