07/24/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Gang Sign Patrol: NFL Hiring Experts After Paul Pierce NBA Episode

The NFL has hired experts to study game footage to determine whether players are displaying street-gang hand signals as part of their on-field celebrations, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"There have been some suspected things we've seen," said Milt Ahlerich, the league's vice president of security, according to the Times' report. "When we see it, we quietly jump on it immediately, directly with the team and the player or employee involved to cease and desist. Period."

Gang signs in pro sports gained a higher profile during the NBA playoffs, when Boston Celtics captain Paul Pierce was fined $25,000 for making "menacing gestures" toward the Atlanta Hawks' bench during a game.

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Watch a video explaining Paul Pierce's side of the gang sign controversy:

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