Reading the LA Times article about Snoop Dogg's youth football league gives me mixed feelings. On the one hand, the organizers of the long-standing league his new league is displacing are sad that the rapper's glitz and glamor are stealing their thunder, but on the other hand Snoop really is providing a more competitive league at a lower cost, so it's no surprise he's "stealing" players in droves.

Snoop rocked the youth football world two years ago when he volunteered as a Rowland Raiders "daddy coach," and then again last month when he broke from the franchise to start his own conference. The Raiders aren't the only team in the Orange County Junior All-American Football Conference to feel the screws; Long Beach and Compton teams, also in competition with Snoop's new league, report similar hemorrhaging. ...

The league fees also bothered Snoop; $175 per child for the Rowland Raiders program (other league chapters charge more) precludes poor families from participating, he says, and those families have trouble driving their children to distant fields for away games. ...

After the season, top players in the Orange County conference received phone calls asking them to join the Snoop Youth Football League, which has no pesky residence requirements and cheaper rates — $100 for the first child in a family, half price for any others, incidentals like cleats and pads included.

Many families and even some coaches hopped aboard, while chapter loyalists wondered aloud if last season's pageantry had been orchestrated to "steal our kids."

"I think what [Snoop] did is just so shallow," says Sandy Gonzales, a sales executive who has two boys on Rowland Raiders football squads and a girl in cheerleading. "He came here just so that he could take away from us what we'd taken many years to establish."

Youth sports leagues compete to provide their players and families the most fun experience possible at the most reasonable price. It's understandable that a longstanding organization dislikes facing competition, but it's clear that players should be free to join any league they want to. If Snoop is subsidizing his organization with his own vast fortune it may not be possible for the oldsters to keep up, in which case they'll lose. Is it "fair"? Well, yes, since the only alternative is to somehow regulate the amount of money Snoop Dogg is allowed to give away.



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