Rose Reacts To Gang Sign Controversy

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Jun 12, 2009 2:00PM

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Matt Motyka/Chicagoist
Yesterday, we posted the picture of Derrick Rose that's been circulating among smaller sports blog - such as Da Bullz and Black Sports Online - for a week now and that the Tribune picked up on. The photo shows Rose and former Memphis teammate Antonia Anderson flashing gang signs; we're no experts but it's alleged that Rose is flashing the pitchfork signs usually associated with Gangster Disciples Nation. As the controversy has grown, Rose finally addressed the situation via a statement (via the Tribune):

I want to emphatically state, now and forever, that Derrick Rose is anti-gang, anti-drug and anti-violence. I am not, nor have I ever been, affiliated with any gang, and I can't speak loudly enough against gang violence and the things that gangs represent.

This photo was taken at a party I attended in Memphis while I was in school there, and was meant as a joke ... a bad one, I now admit. In posing for this picture, I am guilty of being young, naive and of using extremely poor judgment. I sincerely apologize to all my fans for my mistake.

There's certainly been no shortage of young people making stupid mistakes that are caught on camera. Granted, some are more egregious than others.

We know several readers disagree with us, but we're going to give Rose the benefit of the doubt here. Not because what he did was okay. Because it's not. Whether he wants to admit it or not, Rose is a role model to kids, particularly to ones in his old Englewood neighborhood, the same neighborhood where last week a Chicago Police officer was killed in the line of duty. To do anything glamorizing the gang lifestyle is atrocious and Rose is now suffering the consequences of his action. But we're also willing to see this in its context: a young man in college at a party doing something stupid. Dig around on the Facebook pages of staff members of Chicagoist and you'll find plenty of embarrassing pictures. None of us are nearly as high-profile as Rose, but my point is: he's human. He's also young, only 21 years old. Here's hoping that he'll learn from this mistake and rededicate himself to being that role model he is and maybe even some charity work. There are plenty of kids in his old neighborhood who would love to see him.