This, of course, is totally hilarious, because we all know the player is just letting the world know he hit a three - not that he's a member of some gang.
But sometimes things get a little fuzzy. And sometimes there is a real question about what signs players are throwing up mean.
Well, it appears that former Oregon player Aaron Brooks (who's now with the Rockets) may in fact be doing more than just letting people know he hit a big three. There's one columnist out there who thinks Brooks actually flashed a Crips sign during the 2007 NCAA 3-point contest (which Brooks won), and he has some proof to back it up. Although I should mention the columnist, Gary Toms, made the mistake of calling Brooks a freshman in his article - which I guess should instantly make me wary of whatever conclusions he comes to. But here you go.
- On March 31, the ESPN Network covered the "NCAA 3-Point Shootout". The event was nationally televised, and something happened during the contest that prompted me to write this article. The winner of the contest was a freshman named Aaron Brooks (Toms is wrong, Brooks was a senior), who plays for the University of Oregon Ducks. I was watching the shootout with a dear friend of mine, who happens to be a veteran law enforcement official. At the end of the contest, Brooks walked into the frame of the camera and flashed a hand sign. My friend looked at me, and I at him, and we both said, "Oh, hell no he didn't!" It appeared to be the sign of "The Crips". My friend said cops and federal agents are given a list of signs that some of the most lethal gangs in the country identify with, and he alleged Brooks was showing his loyalty and love for The Crips.
And besides, sometimes guys just come up with weird hand signs to show amongst friends. But this is an interesting thing to think about.
Toms, who is African-American, goes on to question whether colleges are recruiting known gang members and also whether broadcasters like ESPN should let kids flash any signs at video cameras.
I'm not going to step into that sticky argument, but I will say this. Brooks, who I'm not accusing of being a gang-banger at all, grew up in Seattle. And despite what you may think, the police have definitely had many a run-in with the Crips there.
UPDATE: We couldn't find the YouTube video, but reader Eric did. It's at about the one minute mark. Draw your own conclusions.