The UGA Fan Club of New Zealand

Since both of your bloggers here at LL2 hail from Georgia, I couldn’t let this little snippet go by.

Via Concurring Opinions, a 45 year old New Zealand man was arrested last week in Wanganui for wearing a University of Georgia beanie.

No, it’s not that the Wanganui Police are Gators fans. As it turns out, UGA’s Uga logo resembles the insignia of the Mongrel Mobs, a New Zealand gang. In an effort to curb gang activity, the New Zealand Parliament granted Wanganui the power to issue bylaws prohibiting the wearing of gang insignia through the Wanganui District Council (Prohibition of Gang Insignia) Act of 2009. From Concurring Opinions,

Under this Act, the Council is given the power to make bylaws that identify certain persons or groups as a gang for the purposes of the Act, and designate any public place to be specified place for the purposes of the Act. A provision in the Act itself states that ‘No person may display gang insignia at any time in a specified place in the district.’ Anyone who violates this prohibition without reasonable excuse commits an offence and may be fined up to $2000. Police officers are given the power to arrest violators without warrant and to seize the offending item; the insignia (and any clothing it is attached to) is forfeited upon conviction or guilty plea.

mongrelmobpicicon_sports_uga

The man who was arrested for the Georgia beanie was in fact a long time member of the Mongrel Mob gang, so I think I’m safe presuming he wasn’t wearing the beanie because he’s a far flung Dawgs fan. And while certainly not identical, Georgia’s UGA logo and the Mongrel Mob’s patch do look decently similar.

The charges against the man were dropped once he was able to prove, however, that what he’d been wearing was in fact an actual Georgia beanie. Even the UGA Athletics Director got involved:

He had pages of evidence to present, including an email from the University of Georgia’s athletic director, Claude Felton, confirming the bulldog was the logo of the university’s sports teams.

I guess we can expect to see now a huge spike in exports to New Zealand of UGA apparel. The most egregious part of this story comes from the New Zealand Herald, however:

Georgia University football team’s mascot is Uga, a white bulldog which wears the team’s colours of red and black – similar to Mongrel Mob colours.

‘Georgia University’? Really, NZ Herald? That’s some sloppy reporting right there.

-Susan

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