x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Pledges do not bling true for the game

The other day, the southern California university best known by the initials "U-C-L-A", promised to reserve a football uniform for the receiver Cordell Broadus. This, Mike Tierney writes, after a written pledge from Justin Combs to play defensive back there.

Justin Combs, son of Sean Combs (better known as P Diddy), was recruited by only four universities to play football. Though not considered a top recruit he did play in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl for the East Team on January 3, 2012.
Justin Combs, son of Sean Combs (better known as P Diddy), was recruited by only four universities to play football. Though not considered a top recruit he did play in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl for the East Team on January 3, 2012.

Perhaps you know a sports fan whose musical tastes lean toward rap. He has longed for an American team with hip-hop connections to cheer on, but the list lately begins and ends with the NBA's Brooklyn Nets.

Rooting for the hapless Nets, whose ownership group includes the esteemed Jay-Z, constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

To mark the franchise's recent move to New York, going-away parties were held in New Jersey that seemed more like good-riddance celebrations.

Anybody else?

Well, the other day, the southern California university best known by the initials "UCLA", promised to reserve a football uniform for the receiver Cordell Broadus. This, after a written pledge from Justin Combs to play defensive back there.

The names will ring no bells, except maybe for those who dance the Dougie, wear plenty of bling and drive a tricked-out car.

The players' fathers are Calvin Broadus and Sean Combs, better known by their stage identities: Snoop Dogg and P Diddy.

Mr Dogg's tunes have generated sales of well over 30 million units. Not too shabby for one's life's work, even if one lives a thousand years. Still, he qualifies as a piker alongside Mr Diddy, the former Puff Daddy, whose melodies have generated 50 million buys.

Hey, 50 Cent, if you have a strapping teenage lad in the household, prepare for a phone call from Jim Mora, UCLA's newly arrived football coach. The offers are no doubt partly inspired by a look-at-me cry for attention in the overcrowded LA sports market.

Neither player will achieve on the field a fraction of the fame their dads have experienced behind a microphone.

Only three other universities, none of them with gold-standard programmes, made serious pitches to Justin, who will suit up this season. Size is not the sole determinant for football success, but the kid is small enough to sit astride a racehorse.

As for Cordell, while he could serve as a body double for an NFL receiver, Snoop's pup has yet to play on his main high school team, known as the "varsity". He just completed the ninth grade, rendering him too young to sign anywhere. But his coach insists Cordell will be real good … one of these days.

Mora, apparently sensitive to the suspicion that he is mining for star power to spice up UCLA's parent-seating section, insisted he was unaware of Cordell's family lineage.

Sorry, Jimbo, that will not fly.

Your reputation is built less on your career record than on your cross-cultural awareness that, more than your peers, supposedly enables you to relate to players from disparate backgrounds.

Besides, media reports on Snoop's generous sponsorship of youth football leagues have often mentioned his birth name.

Funny thing. UCLA is catching flak for signing Justin and seeking a commitment from Cordell, but not because their fathers' art form is associated with unsavoury aspects of society. Or out of concern that a dormant turf warfare between East Coast (Combs, New York) and West Coast (Broadus, California) rappers, which has resulted in violence and death, will be stirred with P's and Snoop's sons on the same roster.

No, there is outrage because Justin will (and Cordell would) receive a scholarship worth an estimated US$54,000 (Dh198,000) annually.

(In lieu of salary, college players are compensated indirectly in exchange for tackling opponents and chemistry exams.)

The two rappers spend that much yearly to wash their fleet of autos. Combs's net worth is estimated at $550 million, while Dogg manages to survive with savings of $150m.

Critics should calm down and think about it as an investment.

If Justin and Cordell earn enough time on the field, their proud papas may decide to donate to the athletics department far more than the value of those scholarships.

Need a new weight room? Here are a couple of cheques with a bunch of zeroes on them that should pay for the Diddy-Dogg (or Dogg-Diddy) Fitness Center.

Of course, Bruins followers might brace themselves for a more contemporary team fight song:

Yo, blue and gold, it is time to get bold

Bust a move, find a groove, play chillin', not illin'

So let's get giddy with my man P Diddy

Can I get a whoop for my other man Snoop?

If our team can advance the ball to pay dirt

We promise the Bruin Nation a free concert.

sports@thenational.ae

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