In Britain, an individual photographed wearing a New York Yankees cap is suspected of attacking a homosexual.
This combination of Yankees cap and fake fur coat is the preferred outfit of many low-level British criminals, or, as they are known in the U.K., "chavs." These chavs regard themselves as criminal-fashionistas: those who look good while mugging.
This criminal appropriation is a problem for the Yankees and another favored chav brand, the Oakland Raiders. After all, as they seek to expand their footprint abroad, the Yankees and Raiders must avoid becoming bastions of criminal fashion.
Consider what happened to Burberry. In the early 2000s, the high-end fashion chain suffered as law-abiding members of the British public chose not to wear its clothing. While Burberry made — and makes -- high-quality products, it became identified with chavs.
Unfortunately for Burberry, the higher-classes of society (aka those who are not criminals) decided to look elsewhere as the chavs appropriated a once well-regarded brand. It took years for Burberry's leadership to save their company by alienating the criminals with a mixture of rebranding, redesigns, and pricing changes.
The Yankees and Raiders should avoid Burberry's struggles.
For a start, they might ask Britain's chav fashion citadel, JD Sports, to post their brands alongside chav-deterrent signs. For one example, "Don't buy this hat unless you know how to eat with a knife and fork."
Ultimately, however, these U.S. sporting institutions must not hesitate. There's huge potential for U.S. sports merchandise in Britain, but the biggest winners will be those who can appeal to the greatest number of consumers.
To be sure, New York holds great affection in British hearts, but if the Yankees don't wake up, they'll find the Mets have won the day!