Snoop Dogg gives back through football

Nick Esposito

 Known mostly for his off-color antics as well as his sexual and narcotic innuendos, Snoop Dogg is changing his image and teaching us all a valuable lesson.  

On Feb. 6, the day before the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts look to become Super Bowl Champions, Pee Wee football will take center stage in Miami for Snoop Bowl VIII. Snoop Bowl is the culmination of Snoop Dogg’s vision to give underprivileged youth a chance to feel like winners, be part of a team and learn to love the game of football.  

Snoop Dogg has been a longtime Los Angeles sports fan. He is a die-hard Dodgers and Lakers fan. He also has become a fan of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks who gave him and his family hockey lessons on Snoop’s reality television show “Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood” in the episode “Snow in da Hood.” 

But his true passion is the sport of football. And while his allegiances may sway from the Raiders to the Cowboys to the Patriots depending on the NFL standings, his favorite team is the Pittsburgh Steelers. He learned to love the Steelers because the Pittsburgh uniform was the emblem of his childhood gang. It also helped that he learned to love them during the Steel Curtain’s dynasty days of the 1970s. 

Snoop grew up in Southern California, and as he grew older he couldn’t help but see the poverty of the surrounding LA area. He wanted to find a way to give back to his community and help the kids stay away from drugs and out of gangs. Snoop said, “It’s so easy for a kid to join a gang, to do drugs…We should make it that easy to be involved in football and academics.”

Once a simple dream, Snoop Dogg received support from friends and sponsors so that he was finally able to bring youth football programs to the poorest areas of LA, including South Central LA, Compton, Watts and Pomona. The program helps boys and girls ages 5-13 stay off of the streets and get them out on the gridiron. The youth league also requires that the athletes show improvement in their schoolwork and maintain a 2.0 GPA. All of the league’s athletes are passing their classes, limiting their disciplinary actions and best of all, most of its original members are going to college. The league has grown to 2,500 athletes and has celebrity coaches and sponsors. Even Snoop coaches his own personal team. 

One of the main goals of Snoop’s Youth Football League is to make the athletes’ dreams come true. Have you ever dreamed of playing in the NFL? Ever dove on your bed pretending that you are making a game-winning touchdown catch? Or have you ever wished you could throw a touchdown in the Super Bowl?

Well these are just some of the dreams that will come true this weekend in Miami for four youth teams in South Florida. 

Snoop Dogg was able to use his fame to provide the game with first class entertainment, including Miami-born rappers DJ Khaled and Flo Rida, as well as a local high school marching band. Patrolling the sidelines will be a group of very impressive celebrity coaches including Deion Sanders, Ronnie Brown (Miami Dolphins), Terrell Owens (Buffalo Bills), Willis McGahee (Baltimore Ravens), Fred Taylor (New England Patriots), Bryant McKinnie (Minnesota Vikings), Max Starks (Pittsburgh Steelers), Greg Camarillo (Miami Dolphins), Bennie Blades (University of Miami and NCAA football hall of famer), Rudi Johnson and many more.

Snoop Dogg will always be known for his platinum records and his obsession with “-izzle” as a suffix to everything. But to the players of the Snoop Youth Football League he will be known as “Coach Snoop,” the man with a slow, poetic drawl who teaches them that an education is the only narcotic that they should become addicted to and that their teammates are the only gang they will need. 

To those of us who Snoop Dogg has surprised, we come away with a valuable lesson. Snoop teaches us that we should find a way to combine our greatest passion with a great human need. Whatever your feelings are about Snoop Dogg’s lifestyle, music or personality you cannot deny the impact that he has made on the kids that he serves. He has not only given his kids a dream come true, but showed them that they are not forgotten and that even their dreams matter.

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Nick Esposito is a junior communication major from Skillman, N.J.  He can be reached at [email protected]