Broncos' Peyton Manning Jerseys Prohibited in Denver-Area Schools Due to Gangs

Gabe Zaldivar@gabezalPop Culture Lead WriterSeptember 5, 2012

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 30:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos passes against the Kansas City Chiefs during a game at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on December 30, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Chiefs 38-3.  (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

One young Peyton Manning fan was asked to remove his jersey while at school because of the implications the number 18 has with local gangs. 

Fox News reports Konnor Vanatta, a third-grader in the Weld County School System, was asked to take off his Peyton Manning Broncos jersey, given the reason that the number 18 is affiliated with gangs. 

Fox News has the video report of the eight-year-old who can no longer don his favorite jersey to school. The boy states, "They told me I couldn’t wear 18 anymore because it’s a gang number and I had to take it off."

This has made his mother, Pam Vanatta, good and mad at the attention his son received from school administrators and questions why they would concentrate on something simple like clothing:

I’m pretty upset the schools have come down to this and I think they need to start paying attention to the education the children are getting rather than what they’re wearing. 

For its part, the school district is just following policy it states has been in place for a while now. District spokesman Roger Fiedler had this to say about the ban:

We’re Broncos fans ourselves; it has nothing to do with that. We’re just wanting to set a consistent solid, example. 

Per the report, the ban has been around for three years and applies to the numbers 13, 14, 18, 31, 41 and 81.

If you think this kid is being stifled, consider that the report states, "Vanatta wore a No. 61 jersey to school on Tuesday to protest the policy."

So really, this is much ado about very, very little. 

This being a football-mad country who loves its jerseys, we understand there may be some upheaval, though. 

I can't speak to the gang-related culture in Denver or how necessary this ban might have been. The simple fact is, there is a ban and the district just wants to remain consistent throughout. 

Sure, you might come back with, "But the gangs win." I also think the ban is ridiculous when you consider it affecting third-graders. 

Well, imagine the uproar that would take place if this kid, who obviously just wants to tout his favorite player, was allowed to wear No. 18 and some other kid in another district in another grade was not. 

Having to wear uniforms most of my schooling life, I don't see the animosity. Yes, the school should be concentrating on teaching, but students should be worried about learning. 

If you like, we can start a petition for Manning to change his number. Or, students could always put that jersey on after school. 

Either way should work out fine. 


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