Gang Tarnishes Bulldogs Logo

Gang Tarnishes Bulldogs Logo

Fresno State Bulldogs made headlines in The New York Times Thursday, but for all the wrong reasons.
Fresno State Bulldogs made headlines in The New York Times Thursday, but for all the wrong reasons.

The Fresno State Bulldogs football team is undefeated and has been in the national spotlight recently because they are ranked 16th in the BCS standings.

The New York Times article brought attention to the connection of the school's mascot and a street gang's name.

In 1921, Fresno State University adopted the Bulldogs nickname when students began taking a friendly bulldog to football games, according to a statement from the university.

Some time later, a street gang also adopted that name. It was a different breed of bulldog--one of the deadliest gangs on the West Coast.

It's been a source of frustration for the university and the city for years. But Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said he won't allow gang members to call the shots.

"We made the decision many years ago, that the Bulldog gang that had become very well known in Fresno, to do things that were going to either eradicate, eliminate, or something that was going to minimize their impact in the community. And we did," Dyer said.

He referenced Operation Bulldog, which he said yielded thousands of arrests of Bulldog gang members over several years.

While Fresno State students sport Bulldog apparel with pride, so do some gang members in Fresno.

The connection bothers students. Tyler Valladao, a senior at Fresno State, recalled a time he was at a sports bar watching a Bulldogs game.

"We got a little rowdy watching the Fresno State basketball game and started doing the Bulldog roar, you know, 'hoot, hoot,' and the bar told us to knock it off because of the gang," Valladao said.

Another Fresno State student said you have to balance safety with your desire to show school pride.

"I think they should inform the students here that if you're going into Fresno, you might want to consider not wearing it," Elliot Racusin said about wearing Bulldog apparel outside of campus. "But you also want to share your Fresno State pride."

It's a sore topic for the university, which declined to comment, only releasing a statement on the history of the mascot and their pride of the nickname.

Fresno State Associate athletic director Paul Ladwig also declined to comment on camera because he said there is nothing he could say that would change the situation, and he said he doesn't want to give any recognition to the Bulldog gang.
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