Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Betting on Pee Wee Football
Illegal gambling. Fines and jail time. 10 Yard Penalty. Repeat 3rd Down.
In an idyllic scene that has played out in countless neighborhoods throughout history, children engage in team sports with their proud parents serving as coaches and spectators. On these playing fields players learn valuable life lessons about sportsmanship, rules and working together.
More and more in recent years this childhood rite of passage has been sullied by the behavior of adults. We’ve seen shocking news reports of parents physically attacking coaches, umpires and each other over what they consider a bad call or favoritism. Unsportsmanlike conduct is growing more common among the adults who theoretically are trying to instill the opposite in their children. This type of bad behavior insults the players and devastates their sense of morale and pride for the team.
Perhaps even more harmful to player’s developing moral character is finding out that their team is nothing more than a front for criminal activity. This is the case with South Florida Youth Football League where the role models used games as opportunities for gambling, drinking and doing drugs.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office began investigating the league after receiving a tip of the illegal activities. They soon found that several of the league’s coaches were involved in taking substantial bets on games and that a Lauderhill barbershop. This turned out to be one of many businesses organizing these kinds of activities, with this particular one providing haircuts along with acting as a gambling station for placing bets and receiving payouts, including those for the Pee Wee football games.
The President of the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes along with two of the team’s coaches were arrested on bookmaking charges. Coaches from the Northwest Broward Raiders, the Lauderhill Lions and the Deerfield Beach Packer-Rattlers were also charged with bookmaking. All were given a substantial bond.