So the NBA is kind of touchy when it comes to their players referencing gangs — remember when the Celtics’ Paul Pierce was fined $25,000 for flashing a Piru Blood gang sign at the Hawks’ Al Horford in 2008? The Nuggets’ J.R. Smith may also be skating on fragile frozen water if anyone in the league office examines his Twitter account.
According to the DENVER POST, Smith’s Twitter is creating controversy due to the way he’s presenting some of his posts — spelling words with a “k” in place of a “c,” or removing the “c” altogether, which is commonly associated with the Bloods street gang. Because Smith has more than 15,000 followers, it’s creating some noise.
From THE DENVER POST:
“Those are still little messages that are being transcended back to some of the neighborhoods,” said Rev. Leon Kelly, executive director of Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives in Denver. “Not to say in no way is he promoting a gang. But people got to understand that a lot of these kids come from gang neighborhoods. Their friends are still involved in doing what they do. Just because one was able to get out of that lifestyle, many of them don’t forget where they come from.”
In a post Sunday, Smith wrote: “Vegas here I kome!” Last week he wrote that he “Kant wait to get bak in the swing of things.”
And then there’s the photo above. Aren’t those hand gestures similar to what Pierce was accused of doing? (Answer: Perhaps. See video below).
I’m no expert on the Bloods or gang signs — where I live, the hood is ruled by these guys. But I can see how the NBA might be touchy on subjects like this.
(Gang sign, or innocent wave? You be the judge)
Then again, how far should an employer be able to meddle when it comes to what you do away from the team, in your personal time? Leagues are discussing ways to ban athletes from using Twitter and other social networking sites, but how is this enforceable? Being caught using Twitter during a team meeting is one thing. But when you’re in Vegas during the off season, should that be off limits?