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Original Issue

Sports Beat

Anybody can get injured on the playing field. Manchester United's
David Beckham managed to get facially disfigured while listening
to his team's manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, in the locker room.
Following a 2-0 loss to archrival Arsenal in the FA Cup,
Ferguson was delivering a tirade; at one point he kicked an empty
shoe, which flew across the room and struck Beckham on the left
eyebrow, opening a gash. The cut didn't require stitches, but it
sparked an uproar in England, where Beckham, 27, is renowned for
his football prowess and for his wife, Victoria, the former Posh
Spice. Both Ferguson and Beckham downplayed the incident, but
after the latter wore a tortoise-shell hairband at practice,
seemingly to hold back his blond bangs and show off the cut,
London's Daily Mail asked, IS BECKS A BIG GIRL'S BLOUSE? The
phrase is British slang for "sissy."

Some people in New Jersey believe former Giants center Brad
Benson has given new meaning to the term offensive lineman. Now
the owner of a New Jersey Mitsubushi dealership--he retired from
the NFL in 1988--Benson last week ran a radio ad in which he
offered to give Saddam Hussein a new car every year for life if
the dictator used it to leave Iraq permanently. The offer led to
a deluge of angry calls and emails to Benson and the three
stations that aired the spot. (Sample complaint: "How dare you
give a car to that guy when he's going to be responsible for
killing a lot of people?") Benson pulled the ad and ran a new one
in which he apologized. That move got more people upset: "We got
thousands of calls saying it's a shame someone in America would
have to pull an ad," says Benson. "I could have been caught
holding four times in the Super Bowl and not gotten this much

Michael Jordan might want to take down that Picasso and put it in
the closet. As first reported in New York magazine, Jordan got a
memorable 40th-birthday present from music producer Jimmy Jam--a
four-by-five-foot photo of Janet Jackson wearing a bikini with
number 23 emblazoned on the bottom. In each corner of the frame
are photos of Jam and Jordan with their wives.... While Bill
Parcells goes looking for quarterbacks, other people on the
Cowboys staff are searching for about 20 cheerleaders. Starting
March 9 the team will be holding open tryouts at Bally's Fitness
Centers in 36 cities. Potential cheerleaders must memorize a
dance routine and then perform it with two other contestants.
(You can get all the auditioning information at The top dancers and kickers advance to
the regional auditions, with the final round taking place at
Texas Stadium beginning on April 26. Shockingly, none of the
competition will be shown on Fox.... In 1954, tiny Milan High
beat Indianapolis's Crispus Attucks en route to the Indiana state
basketball championship and later became the inspiration for
Hickory High in the 1986 movie Hoosiers. Now Crispus Attucks will
get its own big-screen treatment. The year after it lost to
Milan, Attucks, led by Oscar Robertson, went 30-1 and became the
first team composed entirely of black players and coaches to win
the state championship. Something to Cheer About, which Robertson
and former Attucks teammate Willie Merriweather are helping to
produce, begins shooting in June.

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN IACONO (PICTURE THIS) PICTURE THIS Take away her hubcap, and she's not so tough. Three years after KO'ing her boyfriend with that very auto part (and a year after pummeling Paula Jones on Celebrity Boxing), former Olympic skater Tonya Harding (left) made her pro boxing debut last Saturday in Memphis. Dare we call Tonya a Nancy? Weighing in at 123 pounds, she lost a decision to fellow newcomer Samantha Browning.

COLOR PHOTO Browbeaten Beckham



A Bucharest court has ordered Romanian track star Gabriela Szabo
to pay rival runner Violeta Beclea-Szekely $5,000 for calling her


Pacers center, on the team's recent struggles: "It's not going to
be peaches and gravy all the time."