The FDNY and the NYPD's Annual Charity Hockey Game Turned Into A Giant Brawl

Screenshot via Instagram user the1andonly_dj
This time yesterday, Police Commissioner William Bratton was filed with boyish excitement over the New York Police Department's annual charity hockey match with the FDNY at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island:

He hasn't sent out a follow-up tweet celebrating the NYPD's 8-5 victory, probably because everyone is busy talking about the enormous, bench-clearing brawl that broke out between the two teams in the second half.

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Luis Collazo Will Fight Amir Khan on Mayweather-Maidana Undercard

Golden Boy Promotions
Luis Collazo is months from the biggest fight of his career.
Luis Collazo last fought in Las Vegas in 2007. He fought Shane Mosely. The WBC welterweight title was at stake and it was Collazo's first chance at a championship since he lost his WBA welterweight title to Ricky Hatton several months before.

Mosely schooled him, winning a one-sided unanimous decision. The loss knocked Collazo from the division's circle of serious contenders. For most of the next seven years, Collazo hovered just outside, winning enough to keep higher prospects alive but losing enough to keep them still out of reach.

Then, at the Barclays Center in January, the Brooklyn-native knocked out Victor Ortiz in the second round. Now he is back in the circle. He will fight in Las Vegas next, against Amir Khan on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana pay-per-view on May 3.

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Watch Jason Collins Play the Most Talked About Ten Minutes in the NBA This Season

Categories: Basketball, Sports

Kidd and Collins
Jason Collins signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday. Until this weekend, Collins, who is a free agent, had not played since he came out as gay in April in Sports Illustrated.

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Michael Sam's Gay...Now, Who's Gonna Draft Him?

Categories: Sports

The returns would seem to be in regarding the NFL's acceptance of University of Missouri senior Michael Sam, the league's first openly gay player -- or at least the man who would be the league's first openly gay player if he's drafted in May.

Shannon Sharpe, former All-Pro and now commentator for CBS Sports, tweeted, "I don't know Michael Sam but I think he wants to be known as a gr8 FB player, that happens to be gay.Big ups M.Sam, make us proud."

Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams told his followers, "I could care less about a man's sexual preference! I care about winning games and being respectful in the locker room!"

Tiki Barber commented, "Great courage by SECDef POY [in English, that's Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year]. It's time for the NFL to show its colors!"

And the NFL did show its colors, sort of.

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Reality TV Hoaxster Ken Tarr Charged With Felony Eavesdropping for Prank Calls to Coaches

Photo by C.S. Muncy
Ken Tarr, photographed for our June cover story.
In June of this year, the Voice unfolded the curious tale of Ken Tarr, a 32-year-old serially unemployed Los Angeles man who found his true calling as a reality TV scam artist. Tarr managed to talk himself onto eight different reality shows, playing a variety of outsized characters: an inebriated "Gypsy" birthday party clown, an amorous trucker whose love for prostitutes was only matched by his love for the lotto, an jetsetting "security expert" two-timing his girlfriend, who was -- twist! -- also two-timing him, a steaming mad plumber, furious over being locked in a mortuary overnight. None of the show's producers ever made a serious effort to verify his ridiculous backstories, which were all flimsy as a cardboard backdrop in a '60s Western.

At the time, reporter Graham Rayman called him "one of the most prolific television hoaxers in U.S. history." Not just TV, as it turns out; Tarr was also apparently expanding his areas of interest, diving past reality shows and into actual reality. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced yesterday that Tarr is being charged with felony eavesdropping for a series of prank calls he made to athletic coaches, offering them nonexistent jobs. He was also eager to brag about what he was doing, which in retrospect was probably a bad plan.

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Lenny Cooke: A Great New Documentary Reveals the End of Basketball's Post-Jordan Era

Red Bucket Films
Ten minutes into Lenny Cooke, the documentary's star sits on a couch, watching the 2001 NBA draft with two friends. They debate who is the best player in the NBA: Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady, or Kobe Bryant. This is the Post-Jordan Era, and there is no clear king on the NBA's throne.

It's an era of irreverence and optimism. Of Iverson talkin' 'bout practice, of NBA scouts combing through high schools searching for the next Kobe and T-Mac, of a Wild West summer league hoops circuit where AAU coaches and shoe company reps jockey for control of the next generation of ballers.

It's an era of youth and wealth. Of Cash Money Millionaires and Jacob the Jeweler. Of MTV Cribs, Hummers in the driveway, Mitchell & Ness throwbacks in the closet, Cristal bottles in the fridge, stripper poles in the boom-boom room. "The post-modern American Dream," Josh Safdie, one of the film's directors, called it in an interview this week.

Lenny Cooke was riding the wave in 2001. The Bushwick, Brooklyn native was the top high school basketball player in the country at a time when the country was giving high school basketball players millions of dollars. As he notes to his friends in the film, he had "less than a year to make a decision," less than a year until he is eligible for the NBA Draft and competes for the throne. Moments later, Cooke watches the Washington Wizards select Kwame Brown with the number one pick, making him the first high schooler ever taken in the top spot.

"That n---- a millionaire right now," the young Cooke says in the film. "Eighteen years old."

Two of the next three picks are high schoolers as well. By the time the clock starts for the ninth pick, four preps have gone off the board.

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Bronx Assemblyman Michael Benedetto's Bill to Ban Youth Football Has Little Support

Christopher Farber
Brownsville's Mo Better Jaguars.
America's views on youth football are shifting quickly. This became particularly apparent on Thursday, when ESPN reported that participation in Pop Warner dropped by 10 percent from 2010 to 2012, and Robert Morris University released the results from a poll showing that 40 percent of respondents supported a ban on kids playing tackle football before high school.

But if these stats are early signs of football's decline, they are very early signs. Football is America's Game, entrenched in the culture. It is the product that drives a multi-billion-dollar company. It is the thing we watch most each week and each year. "It is righteous, and only a jackass would cancel it," Hunter S. Thompson wrote in 2004,

Into that quicksand steps Bronx Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, who in February became the first legislator in America to introduce a bill banning youth football in his state. His Thursday stood in contrast to the data about how much people were turning against football.

"I received a awful lot of criticism about this bill," Benedetto, who represents the 82nd Assembly District in the East Bronx, said at a press conference that day, the Times-Union reported. "I have certainly received dozens of emails for and against -- mostly against -- this proposal, I'll be honest."

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Forty Percent of Americans Support Ban on Youth Tackle Football, Says Survey

Categories: Sports

Christopher Farber
Last week, ESPN reported that Pop Warner football participation dropped by around 10 percent from 2010 to 2012. The abrupt decline -- which followed decades of non-stop growth and comes at a time when the NFL is as popular as it has ever been -- suggests that evidence of football's long-term harm on the brain has convinced many parents to pull their sons from the sport, at least at the youth level.

As we wrote on Thursday, the data may stand as a very early sign of football's decline -- its pool of extraordinary athletes shrinking the way boxing's did a generation or two ago.

Just how much the pool shrinks is a worthy but unanswerable question. But it's a good bet that the primary variables are the parents of those potential NFL stars. And, so far, the future looks grim for football.

Around 40 percent of Americans support a ban on kids playing tackle football before high school, according to a new survey by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute. Eleven percent were unsure.

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Early Sign of Football's Decline: Pop Warner Participation Dropped 9.5 Percent in Two Years

Categories: Sports

Christopher Farber
A sport's decline begins with the athletes. The great boxing writer Bert Sugar quipped a few years ago that "the best two American heavyweights today are Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher." But they chose football.

These days there's much talk about football soon following boxing's path -- a downward slide from mainstream titan to premium channel novelty catering to connoisseurs of the craft, those with an eye for the brutal dance and a stomach for blood. How soon and to what extent this happens is a good late-night bar debate. Over/under 2050 when basketball passes football as America's Game?

There will be early signs, many of which we'll only identify in hindsight. But one will be as precise and jarring as a helmet-to-helmet hit on a high throw over the middle: The kids will stop playing.

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Jack Clark, Ex-Yankee, Offers to Take Polygraph in Albert Pujols Lawsuit--If Pujols Does Same [Updated]

The defendant: Jack "The Ripper" Clark
Updated Monday night to include response from Pujols's lawyer.

Earlier this month, slugger Albert Pujols sued former New York Yankee (and St. Louis Cardinal and San Francisco Giant) Jack Clark for defamation.

Now, through his attorney, Clark has responded by challenging Pujols to a duel. Clark's weapon of choice: the polygraph.

Clark, known in his playing days as Jack the Ripper, ripped into Pujols on a St. Louis radio show in August, stating that he knows "for a fact" that Pujols, who played 10 seasons for the Cardinals before jumping ship for the Los Angeles Angels in 2012, used steroids.

Pujols filed suit October 3, alleging that "[i]n an attempt to generate ratings during the first week of his The King and the Ripper radio program, for his own personal gain, or for other wrongful reasons yet unknown, Clark targeted Pujols and published and disseminated malicious, reckless and outrageous falsehoods about him, falsely asserting that Pujols used steroids and illegal performance enhancing drugs."

Next: If Clark's allegations were outrageous, attorney Albert Watkins's letter to Pujols's counsel--who received it Monday morning--gives them a run for their money ...

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