Derrick Rose is not a gangster. He’s a point guard.

With the NBA Finals quite possibly ending in a few hours, I thought I’d better stick with a basketball theme tonight. There’s been a bit of hubbub over Derrick Rose, the Bulls’ star point guard and Chicago native, after a college party photo surfaced of him flashing a gang sign, prompting Rose to issue a public apology. Tommy Craggs and Deadspin has this to say:

Did anyone out there actually think Derrick Rose was or is in a gang? Or that he’s some sort of Gangster Disciples emissary because he once threw their sign in front of a camera and because he’s from … the South Side? That he’s endorsing a lifestyle? With a white player, it should go without saying, this would all be chalked up to nothing more sinister than youthful indiscretion.

While I’m no longer a part of the MTV demographic these days, I’ve been to enough parties and bars and sporting events and grocery stores to know that flashing a gang sign outside of the general context of a turf-war isn’t exactly cause for fear. My little sister showed me how to make like I was a Blood. I guess I should make a public apology if anyone ever finds out I might have been starting a new chapter in Okemos, Michigan.

I share Craggs’ annoyance at the situation here. If you hadn’t noticed by now. Anyway, I suppose to try and see the other side of this would be to make an argument that these kinds of pictures give youngsters (Jeez, I’m only 26 and I said “youngsters”) carte blanche on their own behavior. “If my hero Derrick Rose likes gangs, maybe I should join one too.” So there’s that. But come on, really? In that case, I’d like to request a public apology from Chris Andersen for letting kids think that showing up to a basketball game looking like this is OK.

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