It's the biggest scandal to hit Southern California Pee Wee football since, well, ever. Some parents in Los Angeles are accusing Snoop Dogg of using his fame and a tricked-out team bus to lure players to his new football league, which is threatening to wipe out decades of youth football history in the area.
The peeved parents claim that because of Snoop's star power, the once mighty Rowland High School football program in Rowland Heights, California has dwindled, shrinking from nine squads of 5-14 year olds to just three, while its formerly sturdy cheerleading squad has atrophied from 80 girls to just nine, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
"I'm mad at Coach Snoop," 10-year-old Rowland player Xavier Bernal said. "He was so cool; he told me to play my heart out and to play everything I've got. But now I just want to ask him, why did he take all our players?"
Two years ago, when his sons were of age to join the team, Snoop volunteered to be the Rowland Raiders' "daddy coach," earning headlines around the world for his role as the squad's offensive coordinator. Last year, the star allure of the rapper's presence on the field as both offensive and defensive coordinator helped him recruit star players from all over the area to join the team, which was undefeated under the guidance of its quarterback, Snoop's older son.
But when he broke off from the Orange County Junior All-American Football Conference last month to form his own conference (see "Commissioner Snoop Has Big Plans For Youth Football League"), the Rowland team suffered, as did the Long Beach and Compton teams.
According to disgruntled parents and kids, the rapper, who is an alum of his hometown's Long Beach Poly Junior Jackrabbits, lured players to his new Snoop Youth Football League conference with gifts and the promise of riding on a team bus that is tricked out with TVs for watching game tape and a bumping stereo that pumped out his old team's theme song, "Drop It Like It's Hot."
Now, as the rapper has made noise about expanding the league beyond its first eight Southern California teams, frustrated parents and coaches — who admit that Snoop was very generous as a coach, lavishing gifts like new letterman jackets and jerseys and scooters on his players — are accusing him of sabotage and spreading misinformation.
Snoop's camp has denied the allegations, saying his new league will do a better job serving the cash-strapped urban youth, many of whom couldn't afford the
$175 per child league fees and might otherwise fall victim to gangs and drugs. "We should make it that easy to be involved in football and academics," Snoop said. (Representatives told the paper that they never turn away kids who can't afford the fees.)
So, Snoop started his own league, with a $100 fee for the first child from each family, half price for any others, with cleats and pads included.
Several parents and coaches said the rapper's heavy recruitment has hurt local schools, threatening their football programs, including that of the Junior Jackrabbits, who may have to fold after the upcoming season.
Undaunted, Snoop is forging ahead with his league, staging a benefit concert to raise money for it on August 25 at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Ice Cube. He has also signed up such corporate sponsors as cell phone provider Amp'd Mobile, and is starring in the movie "Coach Snoop." And, not that it's much consolation to them now, but his Rowland Raiders team from last year will soon have their own video game.