Friday, August 24, 2007
Major League Baseball: Gang Related
No element of the sports uniform has become a bigger staple of dress around the world than the baseball cap, and Major League Baseball and its affiliated merchandisers have been capitalizing on it for years. Today, New Era and MLB have taken marketing to new levels, making caps ranging from the "patriotic" to the truly bizarre, in a never ending quest to sell more merch. And hey, thats the nature of capitalism: if New Era wants to make a green argyle Red Sox hat, well, there isn't much that anyone can do about it.
Of course, it was only natural that in their never ending quest to make every possible kind of hat they can, no matter how stupid, MLB and New Era were going to cross the line at some point, and I guess that point is now. According to Fox News (with a hat tip to FARK), it seems that MLB has begun marketing itself to a slightly different crowd...
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.
Naturally, MLB is denying that they had any idea that the hat designs were gang related, and have pledged to pull the hats from stores (as of now, the hats are not available on the New Era website, but there is no word if they were ever sold online in the first place). Personally, I don't think there is a single person in America who could look at these hats and think that they aren't marketed to gang members. Everything from the way the bandanna design is laid out on the hat, to the position of the logo, suggests that, at a bare minimum, MLB is marketing them to people looking to portray a thuggish image, and the colors selected make it clear that at a bare minimum they were marketing to the gang "wannabes."
Not that there is anything for MLB to do besides pull the hats, and they are doing just that, but if nothing else it is nice to see their marketing department hit a slight hiccup. Maybe next time they will think twice before unleashing their next atrocious hat design upon the public. But I doubt it.