In spite of federal investigations piled on million-dollar slander suits and misappropriation on top of misappropriation, the mess surrounding the Ali-Spinks fight in New Orleans (SI, Oct. 2) has a certain absurd quality that keeps it from attaining full scandal status.
The latest development, reported last week by WVUE, ABC's New Orleans affiliate, adds another layer. The company known as Louisiana Sports, Inc., which bought from Top Rank, the promoter, the rights to the live gate plus certain ancillary rights, and which was thought to be owned equally by four men—Jake DiMaggio, Phillip Ciaccio, Don Hubbard and Sherman Copelin—now appears to have had a fifth owner. According to WVUE's report, Charles Roemer, the state commissioner of administration, was given 10% ownership. The absurd part is where that 10% came from.
Don Hubbard, one of the four supposedly equal owners, is said to have had, in fact, an extra 10%, which he was granted for additional promotional work he had done. Hubbard, says WVUE, sold his extra 10% to a Monroe, La. businessman named Morris Carroll for $175,000, then gave $150,000 of that amount to Roemer and kept $25,000 for himself.
Carroll, the previously silent partner, is talking now, up to a point. He told WVUE that, yes, he bought a 10% share, and, yes, the amount was $175,000 and, no, he has not made a dime back on his investment and, no, he has no idea where or to whom his money went. The point at which Carroll stopped talking was when WVUE asked him how he became involved with Louisiana Sports, Inc. in the first place.
Roemer, the state official, is talking for only so long as it takes to say, "Not true."
OUT OF BOUNDS
Cheerleaders, clad and unclad, were an item on the agenda at the NFL owners' meetings in Chicago last week. Tighter screening methods to weed out undesirables, and contractual restrictions on off-field conduct such as posing nude for national magazines were suggested, but the gist of the discussion, said Pete Rozelle, was that cheerleaders should remain the concern of the individual clubs. "We adopted a hands-off policy," was the way Rozelle put it.
The NHL is trying out a rule during its exhibition season that requires all players not involved in a fight to go directly to their benches. Of course the rule is being ignored, which means that after every fight every team gets a bench penalty. In a recent Buffalo- Montreal game, rookie Forward Cam Botting served four Buffalo bench penalties, prompting a TV man to announce, "Botting is Buffalo's designated sitter."