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How Sons Of Anarchy Almost Had Beef With A Real-Life Motorcycle Club

Sons of Anarchy brought motorcycle clubs to the television screen in a substantial way, portraying members as cool, violent, nuanced outlaws for whom it was surprisingly easy to root despite their controversial actions — some of which were straight-up nasty. Created by Kurt Sutter, the FX series ran for seven seasons and received heaps of critical acclaim over time. It also gained a legion of fans who decided to start rocking their own SAMCRO leather cuts and purchase their own Harleys as a tribute to the show's outlaw motorcycle club.

While Sons of Anarchy arguably portrays motorcycle clubs in a negative light — in the sense that SAMCRO's members aren't exactly law-abiding citizens — the show clearly demonstrated a deep affinity and respect for the culture. Sutter spent time with real-life clubs while conducting research for the series, and he tried to honor their customs and traditions to offer as much accuracy on Sons of Anarchy as he could. However, some motorcycle clubs weren't happy about Sons of Anarchy, and Sutter and co. could have found themselves embroiled in a lawsuit.

The club in Sons of Anarchy almost had a different name, but it would have caused some drama

According to ScreenRant, Sutter initially struggled to come up with a name for the show, as well as the club that eventually became known as SAMCRO. He originally considered going with "The Zealots," but the name's religious and political connotations weren't in line with what he was going for. He then came up with various other monikers, only to learn that they'd already been taken by real-world MCs around the world. Sutter eventually settled on Sons of Anarchy as the club's name, but didn't want it to also be the name of the shoe. He eventually went with the title Forever Sam Crow, playing off of the acronym created by Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original — SAMCRO. However, after shooting the pilot episode, the creators received a letter from a lawyer notifying them that an actual club owned the rights to the "Forever (Club Name)" device, forcing Sutter to scrap the idea and use the club's name as the show's title as well. 

As ScreenRant pointed out, Sutter was more than happy to make the change out of respect for the biker community. He didn't want to go into the series having beef with those guys, especially after spending so much time with them in the lead up to the show's creation.

How did real bikers feel about Sons of Anarchy?

While Sutter hung out with motorcycle clubs to get a sense of their lifestyle, the series opted for entertainment value over realism, despite having multiple members of the Hells Angels in the Sons of Anarchy cast. As The Life of a Rider noted, the biker community didn't feel as if the show was an accurate portrayal of their world. For a start, most bikers aren't murderers. That being said, some of the minor details were also wrong at times. 

For example, Jax Teller's (Charlie Hunnam) sneakers were out of place. The actor reportedly said that he did his own research into biker culture and recommended the shoe selection based on his findings. However, it's apparently rare to find bikers who go about their business wearing such footwear. Gemma's (Katey Sagal) position as a SAMCRO figurehead was also called into question. While she wasn't an official member of the group, she still had a lot of say in their matters. According to The Life of a Rider, real clubs are very male-dominated and would never allow a woman to have so much influence over their affairs.