What Happens If Your Logo Becomes a Popular Prison Gang Tattoo?
With five league championships since 1999 and 18 consecutive campaigns with at least 50 regular season triumphs, the San Antonio Spurs have won considerable praise as the good guys of the National Basketball Association, with stars such as Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and David Robinson helping coach Gregg Popovich to establish a dynasty. Their consistency has attracted the attention of millions of followers, though not all share the athletes’ regard for righteousness. Members of the Tango Orejon prison gang have been adorning their bodies with the franchise’s famous logo, leading law-abiding supporters to stray from asking tattoo artists to give them similar ink.
The collection of criminals consists of Hispanic men from major Texas cities who popularize the symbol, along with the city’s 210 area code, the Alamo and the Playboy Bunny, to display their unity. Because of their playoff consistency, including a six-game opening-round series win over the Memphis Grizzlies that has secured them a Western Conference semifinals matchup against the Houston Rockets, this time of year customarily finds fans securing artistic proof of their allegiance. However, the gang connection has rubbed away some of that enthusiasm.
“Spurs tattoos have really decreased because of the way they are related to the gangs,” Jackie Garcia, co-owner of the city’s Voodoo Tattoos, said of the dip. “People tend to stray away.”
The proprietor added that the old team colors, aqua, pink and yellow, have become great means to have the logo stand only for the hoopsters’ prowess and not the incarcerated individuals’ fraternity. Industry peer Laura Rosario makes sure potential patrons know of the emblem’s co-opting and relies on strategic placement of the tattoo requests to keep people from staining customers’ reputations.
“We won’t put it on someone’s neck or face or further down their arm where someone could see it and assume they’re associated with that gang,” the manager of downtown San Antonio’s Ring of Fire said.
As the “motherland” of Tango Orejon, according to an anonymous deputy in the Lone Star State’s Bexar County Jail, San Antonio is dealing with about 200 self-identifying gang members, but authorities contend the overall total approaches 500. In professing allegiance to Tango Orejon, the constituents have aligned themselves with a subset of the Tango Blast gang, the Texas Department of Public Safety 2014 Gang Threat Assessment’s chief offender and the attractor of as many as 17,000 figures, nearly enough to fill the Spurs’ AT&T Center, interestingly. Numbers aside, the misappropriation of the Spurs’ logo is a blot on the sporting world’s desire to have competition represent the best qualities within us, but it’s a free country, even for those behind bars.
So, distributors, what would you do if your logo, or a client's, became associated with nefarious folks? Let us know in the comments.