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The little band of evil men who were convicted last week in Los Angeles of conspiring to extort a share of the meager earnings of an inferior welterweight champion, Don Jordan, sum up in their positions and personalities the underworld control that, in less than a generation, has reduced prizefighting from an exciting sport to a perverted and sadistic racket. They are:

Frankie Carbo, the murderous hoodlum who, in connivance with the International Boxing Club, controlled boxing by threats of violence.

Blinky Palermo, fight manager and Carbo's No. 1 lackey, who fronted for the powerful mobster in states that were willing to tolerate him. There were quite a few such states.

Truman Gibson Jr. who, though a graduate of the University of Chicago and a lawyer, lacked the moral sense to see that there was anything wrong with employing hoodlums to keep fighters and fight managers in line so that television might be assured a steady supply of talent for IBC-promoted fights.

Also: two muscle men, Joe Sica and Louis Tom Dragna, who were retained to add substance to Carbo's telephoned threats of murder and mayhem.

One fight manager, Don Nesseth, had the courage to defy Carbo and reject his control. One boxing figure, Jackie Leonard, had the courage to resist Carbo, though weakly, and eventually to testify against him. These two made it possible for a federal jury to convict the five and drum them out of the sport forever.

One old familiar face is missing. James D. Norris, who hired Gibson to hire hoodlums to do his dirty work, is scot free and permitted to carry on his wealthy sportsman pose while racing his horses in such states as Florida and Illinois, neither of which seems to see anything wrong in licensing a lifetime associate of mobsters. The weakness of state commissions in tolerating the likes of Norris and Carbo is an old story in boxing, which is why Senator Estes Kefauver has been able to present such a convincing case for the establishment of a federal boxing commission. The gentlemen who control racing might consider the implications.


The newest idea in athletic assistance came last week from Ames, Iowa where farmers are now being asked to donate beef for the Iowa State University's training table. The plan is called More Beef in the Line, and any Iowa farmer who donates a steer to the university will be given priority on reserved seats at the football games as well as preferred parking benefits and, on Nov. 11, a banquet.

The purpose, of course, is to help reduce the expenditures of the athletic department which, each year, has to pay out about $16,000 to maintain its training table. We're darned if we'll stand for this type of thing. After all, under today's conditions, a chap who plays football or basketball normally gets a scholarship, free room and board. If farmers now have to raise steers to supply free lunches for left tackles, then Iowa State ought to acknowledge its poverty by closing down its 20,000-capacity stadium, shucking off a couple of its seven football coaches and letting the girls in the home economics department make peanut butter sandwiches for the whole damn team.


One of the disadvantages of living in the White House is that you can't be seen around race tracks without danger of losing the next election. General Eisenhower, no longer eligible for the presidential stakes, was able to come to Belmont Park last Saturday and stand in the winner's circle while his wife presented the trophy. He was there, in a sense, as a supplementary entry, according to New York Racing Association's chairman of the board, John W. Hanes, "because Governor Rockefeller turned us down." (Rockefeller is still an eligible for the 1964 stakes.)

It is well known that some distinguished Presidents shared the passion of their constituents for horse racing. George Washington told of his wins and losses in his diary. Andrew Jackson was the Hirsch Jacobs of his day. "He worked a horse to the limit of endurance," his biographer records, "but somehow implanted in him a will to win."

The last President to be seen at track-side was Rutherford B. Hayes, who went to the old Lexington track in 1880, his last year in office.

We don't like to tell Presidents what they should or should not do with their spare time or their money, but we do think that the voters should allow a President the relaxation and exhilaration of an occasional sunny afternoon at the race track.


One thing you can say about Albert, he knows his place. In Florida, that's important, especially for alligators, which Albert is. Albert's place is a wire-covered pit on the campus at the University of Florida, because he is the mascot for the football team. Now up North they have those fresh mascots that go to the games and try to show off and stir things up. But not Albert. He just lies in his pen and soaks up sunshine. And it works out pretty well. Last year the team won eight and lost two.

There was a little scuffle about Albert recently. Three of Florida's best football players took a bet they couldn't get Albert out of his cage and keep him there five minutes. It was just a little fun, but somebody hit Albert on the tail with a hatchet and President J. Wayne Reitz made all three of those boys ineligible to play next fall.

People got pretty mad, and some of the trash wanted to send Albert to the taxidermist. But they quieted down. Now State Senator J. A. Boyd has put up a bill making alligator wrestling "a supplemental educational pursuit in any state university with full accreditation as physical education." And any student reprimanded for molesting an alligator "shall be forthwith credited with not less than one semester hour of credit."

The bill never was called up for passage, but the senator believes Reitz will get the message and let those boys play. He probably will, too, and there won't be any trouble; that is, if nobody butts in and they just let Florida handle this its own way.


This fall the cities of Columbus, Akron, Cleveland, Louisville, Grand Rapids and Indianapolis will each be represented by a team in the United League, a new pro football minor league. Each team will schedule 10 games, most of them to be played on Saturday nights. The players will be rejects of the American Football League and former college and high' school players who decided not to enter major league pro football. Salaries will average about $50 a game, and the only full-time employee of each club will be the head coach. Ticket prices will range from $1 to $3 a game.

Eventually, of course, the United League hopes to obtain long-lasting working agreements with either of the major football leagues and thus serve as a farm system. To us, a pro football minor league sounds like a good idea, but if these towns become saturated by televised major league pro football every week, the United may die a very quick death.


Reuven Dafni, a partisan fighter in Yugoslavia during World War II, who helped smuggle some 2,000 Jews and 114 downed Allied flyers out of the clutches of the Nazis, has been appointed head of Israel's new Sports and Education Authority.

Dafni, 47, was a champion high jumper in his youth and a good shotputter. He is broad-shouldered, muscular, erect and looks 10 years younger than he is, but he will need all his energy and ingenuity in his new job of making Israelis more physically fit and sports-minded. "Frankly," Dafni said recently, "I think the job is 98% impossible."

Among the obstacles are de-emphasis of sports by Jews from time immemorial, a lack of money and gym facilities and, most important of all, control of sports in Israel by political parties.

Another of Dafni's problems is that Orthodox Jews observe their Saturday Sabbath zealously. They frown on Saturday soccer as a form of work. It will be up to Orthodox lawyers to decide whether players who scuff the earth are thereby working at turning the soil. Dafni hopes to popularize Sabbath volleyball, played on a cement court.

In Dafni's favor is the fact that Israelis want to remain physically fit to defend their borders; they also recognize the need of sports to combat growing juvenile delinquency.

Dafni is used to cracking hard nuts. Besides his courageous war work—the Nazis put a price of $40,000 on his head—he fought the battle of Hollywood when he was Israeli consul in Los Angeles in 1948. "I was," he said wryly last week, "the confidant of every neurotic Jew in Hollywood."

Dafni does 20 minutes of calisthenics every day in his Jerusalem apartment and reads the Bible for another 20. He might well exhort those of his countrymen who are soft with these words from Isaiah: "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."


•Eddie Sachs, who lost last week's Indianapolis "500" by 8.28 seconds because he made a late pit stop {see page 24), explained his reason for the stop thus: "The rubber on my tires was gone, the cords were gone, I was on canvas and knew the next thing I was going to be on was air."

•Convicts who have been boxing in prelims at the Miami Beach Auditorium will no longer be allowed to do so. L. W. Griffith, the director of the state's road camps, says he does not want his prisoners exposed to boxing's evil influences.

•Doc Kearns, manager of Archie Moore, was asked recently what people called Moore's spar mate, Greatest Crawford, for short. "Great," said Kearns.