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Stolen symbol

By | April 07, 2008 | News (2)

Photo illustration by Michael Uribes

As the Fresno State football team gained national recognition in the 1980s, a new street gang took notice and adopted the color red and the Bulldog logo as their own.

More than two decades later, the Bulldog gang has grown to include 5,000 validated members and about 5,000 associates who identify themselves by wearing the Fresno State Bulldog logo, according to the Fresno Police Department’s Public Information Officer, Jeff Cardinale.

And those gang members buy a lot of Bulldog merchandise.

In fact Juan Arellano, store manager of Sports Station in Fashion Fair Mall, said that about two-thirds of his Fresno State merchandise is sold to customers who look like they could be Bulldog gang members.

“I am not profiling customers,” Arellano said. “But based on their appearance and the way they talk and hold themselves, it does make them seem like they are affiliated with the gang.”

Arellano said that even during the normally slower football off-season, they continue to sell about six Fresno State items each day, which they may not otherwise sell if a gang did not identify with the logo.

The buying power of the gang has helped catapult Fresno State to the top third of universities nationwide based on how much revenue is collected through licensing.

Fresno State sells the licensing rights to the official Bulldog logos to about 200 companies each year who use the logos to sell thousands of T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and various other items to retail stores.

Eight years ago, the licensing royalties were just $30,000. Today that number has jumped ten-fold, to nearly $300,000, said Fresno State Director of Licensing Clarence Chiong.

The past eight years have also been a growth period for the Bulldog gang as it has increased from having about 1,500 members in 2000 to the more than 5,000 validated members today, according to Cardinale.

There seems to be a correlation between the amount of Bulldog gang members and the amount of revenue generated from licensing Fresno State’s logos.

When asked about the association of the gang with the school logo and mascot, Fresno State Associate Athletics Director Paul Ladwig said that he has been asked multiple times about the connection.

“If anyone thinks that we sell merchandise to be used for an illegal street gang that is just absurd,” Ladwig said. “There are plenty of fans who buy the merchandise to support the teams.”

While it may not be troubling for Ladwig, it is troubling for Fresno State fans who fear that the gang has taken over the logo and by wearing it, they could be targeted as a gang member.

“It is scary to think that if I was at the wrong place at the wrong time and I was wearing my Fresno State sweatshirt, people could confuse me as a gang member,” said junior Cathy Estrada.

Estrada’s fears are not unwarranted, as situations have occurred throughout the Valley that would instill fear into a red-clad Fresno State fan.

One such event occurred several years ago when a Fresno State student was jogging while wearing her school sweatshirt, in her hometown of Atwater. According to a February article by the L.A. Times, she heard yells coming from a car and then five gunshots were fired, narrowly missing her.

Cardinale said that an added benefit to the Fresno Police department’s, “Operation Bulldog,” is giving Fresno State fans the opportunity to wear the logo without the fear of being identified with the Bulldog gang.

“In addition to driving crime to the lowest levels in 43 years, we have made it possible for Fresno State fans to feel safe wearing the Bulldog logo,” Cardinale said.

Cardinale said the department has made over 6,000 arrests of Bulldog gang members, so many that there is an entire floor filled with them at Wasco State Prison. As more members are put behind bars, fewer of those left on the streets are willing to openly identify themselves as a Bulldog gang member by wearing the Bulldog logos.

“The way Bulldog gang members identify themselves has changed since Operation Bulldog began,” Cardinale said. “In November 2006 and prior, Bulldogs were wearing Fresno State attire and it was very apparent that they were part of the gang.”

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30 Responses to Stolen symbol

  1. AJ says:

    It’s very frustrating as a fan. I’ve traveled all over the place, and never have I seen a problem where the local university is also the symbol of a big city gang. I am a Fresno State graduate who worked hard to obtain my education from the university. Shouldn’t I be able to wear my Fresno State gear without fearing for my life?

  2. AJ says:

    It’s very frustrating as a fan. I’ve traveled all over the place, and never have I seen a problem where the local university is also the symbol of a big city gang. I am a Fresno State graduate who worked hard to obtain my education from the university. Shouldn’t I be able to wear my Fresno State gear without fearing for my life?

  3. D. House says:

    When people speak of USC, UCLA, CAL, or even Gonzaga. it is because of their athletic programs and not because of their various academic departments on campus. The same is true here. When the school becomes more prominent through its athletic accomplishments, it enhances the association of all students, graduates and faculty. For less than 8% of the entire student body to vote this referendum down shows the small mindedness of those that did and is an embarrassment to the other 92%. If this is not over turned, you just dropped the value of your degree whether you know it or not.

  4. D. House says:

    When people speak of USC, UCLA, CAL, or even Gonzaga. it is because of their athletic programs and not because of their various academic departments on campus. The same is true here. When the school becomes more prominent through its athletic accomplishments, it enhances the association of all students, graduates and faculty. For less than 8% of the entire student body to vote this referendum down shows the small mindedness of those that did and is an embarrassment to the other 92%. If this is not over turned, you just dropped the value of your degree whether you know it or not.

  5. D. House says:

    When people speak of USC, UCLA, CAL, or even Gonzaga. it is because of their athletic programs and not because of their various academic departments on campus. The same is true here. When the school becomes more prominent through its athletic accomplishments, it enhances the association of all students, graduates and faculty. For less than 8% of the entire student body to vote this referendum down shows the small mindedness of those that did and is an embarrassment to the other 92%. If this is not over turned, you just dropped the value of your degree whether you know it or not.

  6. Jizabel says:

    Here here D. House. You are one of the few people I have seen around here with a brain.

  7. Jizabel says:

    Here here D. House. You are one of the few people I have seen around here with a brain.

  8. Jizabel says:

    Here here D. House. You are one of the few people I have seen around here with a brain.

  9. Jon says:

    I would have thought the gang would at the very least modify them to some degree.
    In San Antonio where I grew up we had 1 major Mexican gang that wore Los Angeles Kings hats and jerseys but they would stitch or paint or whatever they did to modify the hats to say “xxS Axxxxxx Kings” ( the x’s would be what they covered up )

  10. Jon says:

    I would have thought the gang would at the very least modify them to some degree.
    In San Antonio where I grew up we had 1 major Mexican gang that wore Los Angeles Kings hats and jerseys but they would stitch or paint or whatever they did to modify the hats to say “xxS Axxxxxx Kings” ( the x’s would be what they covered up )

  11. Jon says:

    I would have thought the gang would at the very least modify them to some degree.
    In San Antonio where I grew up we had 1 major Mexican gang that wore Los Angeles Kings hats and jerseys but they would stitch or paint or whatever they did to modify the hats to say “xxS Axxxxxx Kings” ( the x’s would be what they covered up )

  12. T.R RODRIGUEZ says:

    i would like to get something straight in regards of how the Fresno Bulldog Gang got started. During the mid 1980′s, Gang members from the Fresno area broke away from the Nuestra Familia prison gang, which consistes of members from northern california. Fresno, not willing to comply with the nuestra familia, for the fact that Fresno is the biggest city in Central California and they were not going to take orders from members from cities smaller than Fresno. They also felt that Fresno was Central California and not part of the norte and sureno gangs. They started off as F-14 in 1985, dropping the “N” which stood for “norte”. in 1986 it was decided to adopt the bulldog symbol because it represents Fresno. By no means do they associate themselves with the school. it represents Central California .

  13. T.R RODRIGUEZ says:

    i would like to get something straight in regards of how the Fresno Bulldog Gang got started. During the mid 1980′s, Gang members from the Fresno area broke away from the Nuestra Familia prison gang, which consistes of members from northern california. Fresno, not willing to comply with the nuestra familia, for the fact that Fresno is the biggest city in Central California and they were not going to take orders from members from cities smaller than Fresno. They also felt that Fresno was Central California and not part of the norte and sureno gangs. They started off as F-14 in 1985, dropping the “N” which stood for “norte”. in 1986 it was decided to adopt the bulldog symbol because it represents Fresno. By no means do they associate themselves with the school. it represents Central California .

  14. T.R RODRIGUEZ says:

    i would like to get something straight in regards of how the Fresno Bulldog Gang got started. During the mid 1980′s, Gang members from the Fresno area broke away from the Nuestra Familia prison gang, which consistes of members from northern california. Fresno, not willing to comply with the nuestra familia, for the fact that Fresno is the biggest city in Central California and they were not going to take orders from members from cities smaller than Fresno. They also felt that Fresno was Central California and not part of the norte and sureno gangs. They started off as F-14 in 1985, dropping the “N” which stood for “norte”. in 1986 it was decided to adopt the bulldog symbol because it represents Fresno. By no means do they associate themselves with the school. it represents Central California .

  15. tisbel says:

    Apparently most Fresno Bulldog gang members have the IQ of around 35, considering they can’t differentiate between a English Bulldog and an American Pit Bull Terrier.

  16. tisbel says:

    Apparently most Fresno Bulldog gang members have the IQ of around 35, considering they can’t differentiate between a English Bulldog and an American Pit Bull Terrier.

  17. tisbel says:

    Apparently most Fresno Bulldog gang members have the IQ of around 35, considering they can’t differentiate between a English Bulldog and an American Pit Bull Terrier.

  18. T.R RODRIGUEZ says:

    TISBEL, THATS COMPLETELY IGNORANT OF YOU TO ASSUME ALL GANGMEMEBERS HAVE A LOW IQ. I SIMPLY MADE A COMMENT AND LET PEOPLE KNOW THE REAL FACTS BEHIND THE USAGE OF THE SYMBOL, AND NOW EVRYONE WANTS TO MESSAGE ME ASKING QUESTIONS AND TALKING TRASH. YOU PEOPLE NEED TO WORRY ABOUT OBAMA BECOMING THE NEXT PRESIDENT….THATS DANGEROUS!

  19. T.R RODRIGUEZ says:

    TISBEL, THATS COMPLETELY IGNORANT OF YOU TO ASSUME ALL GANGMEMEBERS HAVE A LOW IQ. I SIMPLY MADE A COMMENT AND LET PEOPLE KNOW THE REAL FACTS BEHIND THE USAGE OF THE SYMBOL, AND NOW EVRYONE WANTS TO MESSAGE ME ASKING QUESTIONS AND TALKING TRASH. YOU PEOPLE NEED TO WORRY ABOUT OBAMA BECOMING THE NEXT PRESIDENT….THATS DANGEROUS!

  20. T.R RODRIGUEZ says:

    TISBEL, THATS COMPLETELY IGNORANT OF YOU TO ASSUME ALL GANGMEMEBERS HAVE A LOW IQ. I SIMPLY MADE A COMMENT AND LET PEOPLE KNOW THE REAL FACTS BEHIND THE USAGE OF THE SYMBOL, AND NOW EVRYONE WANTS TO MESSAGE ME ASKING QUESTIONS AND TALKING TRASH. YOU PEOPLE NEED TO WORRY ABOUT OBAMA BECOMING THE NEXT PRESIDENT….THATS DANGEROUS!

  21. SANxJONERO says:

    Hy Tanni, that’s wrong of you bitch. Let me guess, you’re Asian or white right? Stop stereotyping people. As far as the gang. I know a lot about them, but not every single thing. I do know that F-14 was something Nortenos from Fresno used, but Bulldogs changed the meaning of it.

  22. SANxJONERO says:

    Hy Tanni, that’s wrong of you bitch. Let me guess, you’re Asian or white right? Stop stereotyping people. As far as the gang. I know a lot about them, but not every single thing. I do know that F-14 was something Nortenos from Fresno used, but Bulldogs changed the meaning of it.

  23. SANxJONERO says:

    Hy Tanni, that’s wrong of you bitch. Let me guess, you’re Asian or white right? Stop stereotyping people. As far as the gang. I know a lot about them, but not every single thing. I do know that F-14 was something Nortenos from Fresno used, but Bulldogs changed the meaning of it.

  24. Hung up my dog tags says:

    Well, I’m an ex gang member and I know all about the bulldogs. They fight for a cause that has been so corrupted over the years that it can hardly be said that it is even the same thing anymore, but in reality, they are really no different than any other gang members anywhere else. do your research and you’ll see what I’m talking about. They all start with purist ideas, and become corrupted over time. It’s human nature. I, am actually writting a paper on them right now so if anyone out there wants to give thier perspective on how they view the FBDS gang(s) feel free to leave me a message.

  25. Hung up my dog tags says:

    Well, I’m an ex gang member and I know all about the bulldogs. They fight for a cause that has been so corrupted over the years that it can hardly be said that it is even the same thing anymore, but in reality, they are really no different than any other gang members anywhere else. do your research and you’ll see what I’m talking about. They all start with purist ideas, and become corrupted over time. It’s human nature. I, am actually writting a paper on them right now so if anyone out there wants to give thier perspective on how they view the FBDS gang(s) feel free to leave me a message.

  26. Hung up my dog tags says:

    Well, I’m an ex gang member and I know all about the bulldogs. They fight for a cause that has been so corrupted over the years that it can hardly be said that it is even the same thing anymore, but in reality, they are really no different than any other gang members anywhere else. do your research and you’ll see what I’m talking about. They all start with purist ideas, and become corrupted over time. It’s human nature. I, am actually writting a paper on them right now so if anyone out there wants to give thier perspective on how they view the FBDS gang(s) feel free to leave me a message.

  27. Thug Flutie says:

    watch Fresno Uncensored and you’ll LYAO. A bunch of overweight wannabe thug homies with ugly females with beer guts and barking into the camera. Yo, we drink Bud Lite, Essay. Woof, woof. It’s horrible.

  28. Thug Flutie says:

    watch Fresno Uncensored and you’ll LYAO. A bunch of overweight wannabe thug homies with ugly females with beer guts and barking into the camera. Yo, we drink Bud Lite, Essay. Woof, woof. It’s horrible.

  29. Thug Flutie says:

    watch Fresno Uncensored and you’ll LYAO. A bunch of overweight wannabe thug homies with ugly females with beer guts and barking into the camera. Yo, we drink Bud Lite, Essay. Woof, woof. It’s horrible.

  30. [...] those gang members buy a lot of Bulldog merchandise. [The Collegian] googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("div-gpt-ad-600×300-ATF"); [...]

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