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Commssioner of Major League Baseball: Bud Selig
Commissioner of the National Football League: Paul Tagliabue
Commissioner of the National Basketball Association: David Stern
Commissioner of the National Hockey League: Gary Bettman
All these heads of the 4 major American sports professional organizations are Jewish (2002).
By the early 1980s Jewish individuals owned or controlled a huge number of professional baseball, basketball, football, hockey and other sports teams. A sample includes the San Diego Chargers, Seattle Supersonics, Milwaukee Brewers, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Black Hawks, Cleveland Browns (Art Modell), Oakland A's, and part of the New York Knicks. [BAER, p. 30] (By the 1990s, both the New York Knicks and New York Rangers were owned by Viacom, headed by Jewish mogul Sumner Redstone). SILBIGER, S., 2000, p. 32] Sidney Shlenker, head of Pace Entertainment, owned the Denver Nuggets from 1985-89. Al Cohen was also one of the three owners of the Boston Celtics (he was also the chairman of the basketball owners' Board of Governors, beginning in 1986). Philip Mack owned the Minnesota Twins. Richard Bloch was president of the Phoenix Suns and also the chairman of the owners’ Board of Governors. A Jewish entrepreneur, Ed Snider, still owns the Philadelphia Flyers pro hockey team (he also a board member of the Simon Wiesenthal Holocaust museum in Los Angeles. He also owns Prism, the largest regional pay-per-view TV network in America, as well as Spectacor, which includes TicketMaster and the Philadelphia Spectrum sports center). Irwin Jacobs controlled the Minnesota Vikings. Jeff Smulyan, the CEO of Emmis Broadcasting, owned the Seattle Mariners ("Smulyan has won civil service awards for his efforts on behalf of Jewish causes ... Reclaimed land in Israel has even been forested in his name." [PRICE, p. C1]
Bud Adams owns the (football) Tennessee Oilers (formerly in Houston) and Les Alexander owns the (basketball) Houston Rockets. Al Davis also eventually owned the Oakland Raiders, Carroll Rosenbloom the Los Angeles Rams, and Abe Pollin not only the Washington Wizards but also the Washington Capitals. "Pollin," noted the Jerusalem Post in 1997, "the most senior owner in the NBA, [was] a close friend of the late [Israeli] prime minister Yitzhak Rabin." [KUTTLER, p. 20] Pollin, with fellow real estate developer Albert Cohen, also built Washington D.C.'s entertainment and sports complex, the Capital Centre. Jewish entrepreneur Daniel Snyder also owns the other professional team in the nation's capital, the Washington Redskins (football). "The rest of the National Football League," noted the New York Times,
"has taken notice, not only of Snyder's fat wallet, but of his brashness,
by the time he was 20, and by 31, he was the
youngest chief executive
a company on the New York Stock Exchange."
[FREEMAN, M., 8-6-2000, p. 1, 24]
There's more. By the 1990s Thomas Werner was the chairman of the San Diego Padres and Jerry Reinsdorf (described by Sports Illustrated as "one of the most powerful, loathed, and loved men in sports" [SWIFT, p. 76] controlled both baseball's Chicago White Sox and basketball's Chicago Bulls (Michael Jordan et al). In 1992 Bob Lurie, also Jewish, sold the San Francisco Giants for $110 million to a group of investors including (Gentile) George Shinn, Walter Shorenstein, Warren Hellman, (Gentile) Charles Schwab, and Richard Goldman (the mayor's chief of protocol). "Shinn," noted the San Francisco Chronicle, "gives motivational speeches and several books, one of which is called 'Good Morning, Lord’.... Before leaving for San Francisco, he asked [Larry] Baer whether he should bring autographed copies of the book for local investors. Baer, knowing that many of the potential San Francisco investors were Jewish, said it would not be a good idea." [CARLSEN, p. A1] Nine of today's 22 part-owners of the San Francisco Giants are Jewish, including Larry Baer, the Giants' CEO. [ALTMAN-OHR, A., 4-14-2000]
In Michigan, William M. Davidson, owner of the fifth largest glass manufacturer in the world, Guardian Industries, owns the Detroit Pistons basketball team (Davidson's glass factory branch in Israel is the "largest single undertaking of private industry in that country.") [MAGINA, p. 42] Davidson also owns a women's professional basketball team, the Detroit Shock. (Davidson's gifts to Israel include a 1999 gift of $20 million to a scientific center, the Weizman Institute). Michael Illitch, also Jewish, owns the Detroit Tigers baseball and Detroit Red Wings hockey teams. Chris Cohan owns the Golden State Warriors. Larry Tanenbaum owns the Toronto Raptors. Charles Bronfman owned the Montreal Expos, later owned by New York art dealer Jeffrey Loria (Loria once commissioned Jewish artist Larry Rivers to "portray four millenia of Jewish history.") [HEBREW UNION COLLEGE, 1999] Malcolm Glazer owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Hollywood producer Jeffrey Lurie bought the Philadelphia Eagles in 1994 from another Jewish mogul, Norman Braman. Eli Jacobs sold the Baltimore Orioles in 1992. Norm Green owns pro hockey's Minnesota North Stars (later, the Dallas Stars). Howard Katz sold the Philadelphia 76ers in 1996 to the Comcast Corporation (whose Jewish chairman is Ralph Roberts. Chief Financial Officer for the 76ers? Andy Speiser, also Jewish). [SALISBURY, G., 3-30-99, p. 65] Walter Haas (for years the head of the Levi-Strauss clothing company) was the principal owner of the Oakland Athletics (where he installed his son and son-in-law as executives) til the team was sold to Steven Schott and Kenneth Hofman in 1995. Eugene Klein, described by Sports Illustrated as America's "most successful thoroughbred [horses] owner," owns the San Diego Chargers. By the early 1990s, Robert Tisch was co-owner of the New York Giants and Howard Milstein owns part of the New England Islanders. Fred Wilpon owns the New York Mets. Jeremy Jacobs owns the Boston Bruins hockey team. Lewis Katz is the "principal owner" of the YankeeNets company, which controls the New York Knicks basketball team (president and CEO: Harey Schiller).
Randy Levine is president of the New York Yankees.
Robert Irsay (originally: Robert Israel) died in 1997; at the time he owned pro football's Indianapolis Colts (moving them from Baltimore.) His son Jim took over ownership. The Baltimore Sun noted that Irsay was
"remembered best for his drunken public appearances and unstable
management ... Mr. Irsay became something of a legend for his
public denunciation of players and staff in Baltimore, and calling in
plays from the owner's box." [MORGAN, p. 1A]
Tom Matte, a broadcaster for the Colts in Baltimore noted that Irsay "never created any good will. He only created bad will. And that's why the fans hated him." [MORGAN, p. 1A] His own mother called Irsay "a devil on earth." [MORGAN, p. 1A]
Donald Sterling owns the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team (he also owns over 5,000 apartment complexes in southern California, including 22 in Beverly Hills. [TURNER, p. 8] Herb Kohl owns the Milwaukee Bucks. Mark Cuban, well-known for accumulating fines for emotional outbursts against referees at games, bought the Dallas Mavericks in 2000. Robert Kraft owns (football's) New England Patriots. (Kraft's wife, Myra, is one the board of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee; she travels to Israel "at least four times a year" and "besides the state of Israel and her own Jewish heritage," notes the Boston Globe, "Kraft counts family above virtually everything else." [KAHAN, p. C1] Robert Kraft also owns his team's playing site, Foxboro Stadium. "Some people have said," noted Newsday in 1997, "that Kraft abuses power. After Kraft pursued and bought the tiny Robertson Paper Box Co. in Montville, Conn., in the 1980s, and built a new plant ... [the] move resulted in 300 layoffs." [ZIPAY, p. 79]
Ted Arison (CEO of the Carnival Cruise company, who also lives in Israel) owns the Miami Heat. Mel and Herb Simon (owners of the biggest shopping mall in the United States, among 130 others across America) own the Indiana Pacers basketball team. (Herb's wife, Diane, has served as the Democratic National Convention chairwoman). [APGAR, p. 1A] Phil Granovsky, until his death in 1995, was part-owner of the Toronto Raptors; he was also twice the local chairman of the United Jewish Appeal. Stan Kasten is the president of both the Atlanta Hawks and the Atlanta Braves. Randy Levine is president of the New York Yankees. In 1997 Jon Stoll and Ken Horowitz became owners of Miami's new professional soccer team. Ed Tepper owns the Philadelphia Kixx soccer team. In 1998, Al Lerner bought the new Cleveland expansion football team for $530 million. (It was named the Cleveland Browns and Art Modell's original Cleveland Browns that had moved to Baltimore was christened the Baltimore Ravens). Murray Pezim, "one of Canada's richest citizens"  owns the British Columbia Lions in the Canadian professional football league. [LOONEY, p. 90] Even an ultra-Orethodox rabbi, Joseph Gutnik, by the 1990s one of the richest men in Australia, is president of the Melbourne Football Club. In 1999, Howard Milstein, already co-owner of hockey's New York Islanders, led a group that sought to buy the Washington Redskins.
A few of these sports moguls have questionable pasts, having been linked (though never convicted of anything) with characters in the criminal underworld. Early in his career, Art Modell (owner of the Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens) was chums with Ben Marden, "a former bootlegger and casino operator in Havana who was associated with [mobster Meyer] Lansky ... Modell also had ties to several bookmakers and gamblers." Modell was also partner in a horse-racing operation with Morris Wexler, who was described as one of the 'leading hoodlums' in running Empire News Service by a Congressional committee. Wexler was also "linked to [Jewish mobster Moe] Dalitz's Mayfield Road Gang" in Cleveland. [MOLDEA, 1989, p. 106] Modell was also an associate of William Weinberger, the eventual head of Ceasar's Palace in Las Vegas. One of Weinberger's business pals, Jerome Zarowitz, was "convicted for trying to fix the 1946 championship game." [MOLDEA, 1989, p. 107]
Carroll Rosenbloom (owner of the Los Angeles Rams) and mob-linked Morris Schwebel and Lou Chesler were the three largest shareholders in Seven Arts, a firm that once managed to buy the film libraries of Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and MCA/Universal. [MOLDEA, 1989, p. 109] Rosenbloom (well known as "a notorious gambler") [MOLDEA, p. 133] and his associates built the first casino in the Bahamas, the Monte Rio. [MOLDEA, p. 131]
Another Jewish sports mogul, Sonny Werblin (owner of the New York Jets) "maintained close personal and business ties with Chicago mob attorney Sidney Korshak [also Jewish] who represented the underworld's interests in Hollywood." [MOLDEA, 1989, p. 136] Werblin, also a division head at MCA in Hollywood, "was very close" to NBC head Robert Sarnoff (also Jewish) and managed get the television network to extend a five year contract to the fledgling American Football League (rival to the old National Football League), thus ensuring the new league's survival. [MOLDEA, 1989, p. 137]
There are also questions about Eugene Klein (owner of the San Diego Chargers). As Dan Moldea notes
"In March, 1970 San Diego Chargers owner Gene Klein was
registered at the twenty-one-room Acapulco Towers in Mexico
during a meeting of major underworld figures ... Among those
in attendance was [Jewish mobsters] Meyer Lansky and Moe
Dalitz ... Klein was one of twelve stockholders in the hotel, who
also included [Jewish lawyer to the mob] Sidney Korshak and
Moe Morton, a major gambling figure in California." [MOLDEA,
p. 232] (Other co-owners included Phil Levin. "Through his
holdings," notes Moldea, "Levin exercised considerable control
over the New York Knickerbockers of the NBA, the New York
Rangers hockey team, and Roosevelt Raceway on Long Island."
[MOLDEA, 1989, p. 466]
Klein was also once fined $20,000 by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office which accused his team of an "indiscriminate use" of drugs. The current head coach and eight players were also put on probation. The former Chargers head coach, Sid Gillman was also "placed on probation by the NFL for forcing his players to take drugs. Also punished for prescribing excessive amounts of amphetamines was Dr. Arnold J. Mandell, who was fired by the team psychiatrist but not charged with any crime." [MOLDEA, 1989, p. 259] Mandell, also Jewish, was the co-chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California in San Diego.
In 1983, Jewish mogul Steve Belkin backed out of a deal to buy the Boston Celtics basketball team, citing too much negative media publicity and his "guilt by association" with close business associates. Belkin owned a company called Trans National. His vice president, Henry Lewis, had been "convicted, of kidnapping charges in 1969, and again on a bookmaking charge in 1977. He was allegedly under investigation for gambling charges." Lewis' brother, Alan, was president of Trans National and the Lewis' father, Edward, was also "a convicted bookmaker." In later years Belkin's interests bloomed towards common Jewish themes: he became friendly with officials at the Anti Defamation League and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies and "for the last year years," noted the Boston Herald in 1999, "he and wife, Joan, have taken 160 people to the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC." [UPI, 7-29-83; RESENDE, P., 2-21-99, p. 35]
In 1984 David Stern became commissioner of the National Basketball Association and, as noted earlier, is still at the heal into 2000 (NBA publicist through the 1970s, Haskell Cohen, was also a columnist for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Deputy NBA Commissioner Russ Granik is also Jewish ). Robert Kraft, also Jewish, president of the National Football League from 1967-1970, bought the New England Patriots in 1993. Sara Levinson is president of NFL Properties, the league's merchandising division. Bud Selig, 35% owner and former CEO of the Milwaukee Brewers, has been the "acting" Major League Baseball commissioner since 1992, formally becoming the official commissioner in 1998. (In 1999 baseball's National and American league president offices were eliminated, thereby centralizing decision making in Selig's office). Sandy Alderson is one of major league baseball's vice presidents, for "baseball relations." By the 1990s Alan Rothenberg was the president of the professional soccer league, U.S. Soccer. Val Ackerman is president of the Women's National Basketball Association. In 1982 it was noted that Marvin Miller, as Executive Director of the Major League Players Association, "has single-handedly transformed baseball from being merely an American past time to a big business." [WALDMAN] For the baseball owners' part, under the cloud of a 1994 players' strike Jewish lawyer Richard Ravitch worked for them as their chief negotiator with the baseball union. On the other side of the battle, representing the union, was Donald Fehr who asked time off "so he and several members of his staff could prepare for Yom Kippur, the Jewish holiday." [FISH, p. D3]
Well-known professional sports coaches include Red Auerbach, Larry Brown and Marv Levy. [SILBIGER, S., 2000, p. 31]
At only age 28, Charles Harris was the number two executive in public relations at the Los Angeles Dodgers. "People always ask me how I could leave that for Israel," he says [he emigrated to the Jewish state], "But I knew that if it didn't work out here, I was young enough. I could always go back into sports." He eventually contracted to represent Major League Baseball in Israel. [ORBAUM, S., 7-28] And the Jerusalem Post noted the case in 2000 of Jewish baseball player Shawn Green: "When he compelled his former team, the Toronto Blue Jays, to trade him, he stipulated that he go to a team with a large Jewish fan base." [ORBAUM, S., 7-28]
Gil Stein is both a former president and CEO of the National Hockey League. He was also the NHL's vice-president and general counsel for fifteen years. The current National Hockey League Commissioner, Gary Bettman, is also Jewish. (This makes the current -- 2002 -- commissioners of the five major American sports: professional baseball (Bud Selig), basketball (David Stern), hockey (Gary Bettman), football (Paul Tagliabue), and soccer (Don Garber) ALL Jewish). Under criticism during a 1994 strike, New York's Jewish-dominated Village Voice reported that
"Bettman has confided that his discomfort is increased by the
tinge of anti-Semitism that hovers in the strike rhetoric. Toronto
columnists have referred to Bettman as 'nebbish' and complain
the league is now run by 'New York lawyers,' and players have
joked that Bettman's wife would rather 'go shopping' than watch
a hockey game -- all of which can be construed as a code word
for 'Jew' ... Some the game's patron saints, such as the Leaf's
Conn Smythe and broadcaster Foster Hewitt, the original 'Voice
of Hockey,' were known by associates to harbor anti-Semitic
sentiments." [EXTON/SKOLNICK/KLEIN, 10-11-94, p. B28]
As the NHL's senior Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations, Brian Burke, complained:
"In my mind a couple of writers [in Toronto] are clearly influenced in
their coverage by the fact that Gary Bettman and much of the league
hierarchy are American and that Gary Bettman and some of the other
league higher-ups are Jewish." [GORDON, J., 10-23-94, p. B28]
Even the famous Black theatrical basketball
team, the Harlem Globetrotters, was headed by a Jewish entrepreneur, Abe
Saperstein, who bought the Savoy Big Five in 1927 and renamed them. [SILBIGER,
S., 2000, p. 31] Red Klotz, also Jewish, still "owns and organizes
Globetrotters' opponents, who have played under various names, from the
Reds to the Washington Generals to the current New York Nationals."
[JENSEN, B. 2-9-01, p. B15]
In the sports media world, Steve Greenberg -- former deputy major league baseball commissioner -- is the president of the Classic Sports Network. Howard Katz is president of ABC Sports (ABC Sports was sued in 2000 by fired reporter Lesley Visser for age discrimination). Harvey Schiller is president of Turner Sports. Steve Bornstein is president of the ESPN sports broadcasting company (where Al Bernstein has been an on-air "boxing analyst” for 18 years). A new  ESPN boxing promoter is Russell Peltz.
"When ESPN became implanted in the national consciousness, Chris Berman emerged as its biggest star" and Ray Firestone is ESPN's "master interviewer." Both Berman and Firestone are also Jewish. [QUINDT, F., 1994, p. D1] In 1990, Robert Irsay, then owner of the Indiana Colts (and also Jewish) made the news for apologizing to another Jewish reporter, ESPN's Fred Edelstein, for saying, "Edelstein's a little Jewish boy and he doesn't know what he's talking about." [SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 11-20-92, p. C2] For the roving (female) reporter role on CBS's 2000 NCAA basketball championships, we had Bonnie Bernstein. [This is just the tiniest beginning of a story. See later Mass Media chapter about Jews in prominent positions in the mass media. Also, click here to read one Jewish online web site's listing of Jews in prominent positions in the sports world].
In 2000, Atlanta Braves relief pitcher John Rocker, represented by the Jewish sports agency SFX, found himself in a kind of Jewish web, becoming America's nationally vilified scapegoat for political correctness when (Jewish) Sports Illustrated writer Jeff Pearlman reported Rocker's comments about New York City. He didn't like riding on the Number 7 subway train, Rocker told Pearlman, with
"some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS next to
some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time next to some
20-year old woman with four kids ... The biggest thing I don't like
about New York are the foreigners ... Asians and Koreans and
Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and
everything up there. How the hell do they get in this country?"
These comments, excerpted from Pearlman's story, were splashed across the newspapers of America and Rocker made international news as a mindless bigot. (Jewish) baseball commissioner Bud Selig fined Rocker $20,000, suspended him for a month, and ordered him to undergo psychiatric counseling. Weeks later Rocker passed Pearlman alone in a hallway, and bitterly yelled at the reporter for betraying his confidence. Pearlman reported this incident too, and Rocker was soon disciplined again and sent to the minor leagues.
Nat Hentoff (also Jewish) of the Village Voice was one of the few public voices that addressed the earlier context of Rocker's hostile comments:
"There was more to the Sports Illustrated interview than the parts
that led to [Rocker] becoming a pariah. But the full details of New
York fans' abuse of Rocker has been largely neglected by the media."
Rocker complained in the original article of being spit at by New York Met fans, he had bottles and batteries thrown at him, people screamed that they copulated with his mother, and someone threw beer on his girlfriend. Emotionally reacting to New York hostility with hostility, privately to the reporter, Rocker came close to losing his baseball career. Conversely, when reporter Pearlman was invited to speak publicly about the furor he had instigated, "he ducked interview requests from the Ted Koppels and Larry Kings of the world." [CLIMER, D., 4-23-2000; MORGAN, M., 6-22-2000, p. D2; HENTOFF, N., 2-8-2000, p. 39]
Jews have also long dominated the boxing world, as promoters, managers, agents, and other entrepreneurs. "So many of the fighters, trainers, promoters, and managers were Jewish," notes Allen Brodner about the sport's foundations, "that it would have been difficult for anti-Semites to obtain a foothold." [BODNER, p.4] For decades, Ray Arcel and Whitney Bimstein were the foremost trainers in the sport. Other prominent Jewish trainers included Heinie Blaustein, Freddie Brown, Manny Seaman, Charley Goldman, and Izzy Klein. Rocky Marciano's trainer (Al Weil) was Jewish, as was Rocky Graciano's (Irving Cohen). But, notes Bodner, "probably in no area of boxing were Jews important for so long a period as in the promotion of matches." [BODNER, p. 11]
Mike Jacobs, for instance, was a famed Madison Square Garden promoter -- pioneer Black heavyweight fighter Joe Louis fought for him 25 times. Jacobs, says Peter Levine, "became [in the 1930s and 1940s] boxing's dominant figure. Anyone who fought in a major bout in the United States went through 'Uncle Mike.'" [LEVINE, P., p. 183] As a promoter, notes Jack Newfield, Jacobs had "total control, total monopoly" over Joe Louis. [NEWFIELD, J., 1995] Over objections from many in the Jewish community, Jacobs even promoted the German Nazi's heavyweight contender, Max Schmeling, in 1936 to fight Louis in New York City. Schmeling won, a propaganda boost for Aryan fascism. Incredibly, even Schmeling's manager was Jewish -- another Jacobs, this one Joe. A proposed Schmeling fight for the world heavyweight crown against then-champ Jimmy Braddock never materialized, reportedly due to pressures put upon Braddock's own Jewish manager, Joe Gould. [LEVINE, P., p. 186]
Other prominent Jewish promoters have included Harry Markson and Teddy Brenner. Nationally/internationally, Sam Silverman staged fights in Boston, Jack Solomon in London, Herman Taylor in Philadelphia, Harry Glickman in Seattle, and Bernie Feiken in Baltimore. In recent history, controversial promoter Bob Arum, originally a Harvard-trained lawyer, has often been in the public eye. Arum's Top Rank firm has managed many of recent history's most famous boxers, including Muhammed Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns, Roberto Duran, George Foreman, and Oscar De La Hoya. More recently too, for example, when controversial heavyweight fighter Mike Tyson left Black boxing entrepreneur Don King in 1998, Tyson's new "advisors" were Shelley Finkel, Jeff Wald, and Irving Azoff (the latter two also prominent in the recording industry). [SPRIGER, AN EERIE, p. C1, C4] One of Tyson's early co-managers was Jim Jacobs.
Across the world, Rodney Berman, also Jewish, "is not only the leading boxing promoter in South Africa, but his Golden Glove Promotions is one of the top companies in the field worldwide." He promoted Hasim Rahman's victory over Lennox Lewis in the 2001 heavyweight championship. [BELLING, M., 4-27, 2001]
In 1997, the "first female boxing manager," Jackie Kallen, also Jewish, was inducted into the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. That same year she was the commissioner of the new "International Female Boxers Association." "That's what men want to see," Kallen says, "Sex sells. Men like to see beautiful women tie their hair back, go in there, and beat the ... out of someone." [SPRINGER, S., p. C10]
The Everlast Company, which for years monopolized most of the boxing equipment market, was also Jewish-owned, as was the sport's periodical bible, Ring Magazine (run by Nat Fleisher). In horse racing, Sam and Dorothy Rubin even owned John Henry, the most profitable race horse of the early 1980s. Hollywood Jews built the Los Angeles Hollywood Park race track (MGM head Louis Mayer was by 1945 the "second leading money winner in America." [GABLER, N., 1988, p. 263, 265] A Jewish entrepreneur in Texas, Jerry Meyer, is the chairman of Pinnacle Brands, which sells over $150 million worth of sports products and souvenirs a year. [FRIEDMAN, p. 32] The Sorin family founded and controls the famous Topps baseball card company. Mike Levy is the CEO of Sportsline, USA, an internet website worth $285 million.
Eventually, Jewish gangsters like Meyer Lansky, Dutch Schultz, Waxey Gordon, Bugsy Siegel, Arnold Rothstein, and Lepke Buchalter helped move the criminal underworld into boxing. "The gamblers who did business in the rear of each fighting club," observes Allen Bodner, "were Jewish, as were many of the managers and promoters. It was a logical step for the Jewish racketeers to move aggressively into boxing." [BODNER, p. 130]
The world of sports betting and gambling has long been largely Jewish as well, influenced in many spheres by the Jewish criminal underworld and the Italian Mafia. Mort Olshan, for example, was "perhaps the most renowned football [betting] handicapper in the United States and publisher of the widely read Gold Sheet." [MOLDEA, 1989, p. 29] From Minneapolis, Billy Hecht's Gorham Press "became the first national odds making institution. Many considered its newsletter to be a bible for gamblers." Leo Hirschfeld became a partner at Gorham Press in 1940, and its name changed to the Weekly Gridiron Review. [MOLDEA, 1989, p. 61] Moses Annenberg created The Daily Racing Form (for the betting on horse races) in 1922, soon to be embraced by the criminal underworld. William Kaplan created Kaplan Sports in the 1930s and the bulletin Handicapped. Kaplan "was also a close associate of Sidney Wyman, a former St. Louis bookmaker and a known front man for mob casino operations in Las Vegas." [MOLDEA, 1989, p. 86] Sam Minkus was "the owner of National Publications of Miami, the largest producer of football betting cards in the United States." [MOLDEA, p. 87]
Brooklyn-born Robert Martin "has been the most influential sports odds makers in the United States since the 1950s." Close associates were Julius Silverman and Meyer Schwartz. All three "were convicted of illegal gambling activities" and sentenced to five years in prison, but the surveillance system used to watch them was declared to be illegal and they were freed. [MOLDEA, 1989, p. 192] "During the 1950s and 1960s, the outlaw [sports betting] line was controlled by the New York Mafia ... The man responsible for managing the outlaw line for the Chicago Mafia was Frank Larry 'Lefty' Rosenthal." [MOLDEA, 1989, p. 239] In Boston, Burton "Chico" Krantz "became a notorious Boston bookmaker who ended up as a key government witness against leaders of the mob in New England to whom he was forced to pay 'rent,' or protection money." [KORSEC, T., 1-27-2000]
"Pick up a player, any player," declared Black Enterprise magazine, "among the ten highest paid black athletes in the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), or Major League Baseball, and 29 out of 30 have an agent who is anything but black." [CLAY, p. 48] These agents are overwhelmingly Jewish; those noted by Black Enterprise include Marvin Demhoff, Steve Zucker, Barry Axelrod, and Leigh Steinberg (who had the largest stable of NFL athletes, about 70, by 1995). Steinberg, noted the New York Times, "does the bidding for nearly every quarterback in the NFL." [HIRSCHBERG, L., 11-17-96] "Leigh Sternberg," adds the (Jewish) Forward, "virtually created the modern sports agent in 1975." [Smith, B., 9-4-98, p. 18] He also "underwrites the Anti-Defamation League's Steinberg Institute." [ALTMAN-OHR, A., 1-7-2000, p. 38]
By 1996, another Jewish sports agent, David Falk, had 38 clients in professional basketball, the largest number of any agent. These were in large part a group of elite players like Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, and Allan Iverson. (Falk, marketing whiz, conceived and pushed the "Air Jordan" basketball shoe as well as a Warners movie featuring Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny). "We don't want to grow to fast or become too large," he said about his agency called F.A.M.E., "We want to remain a boutique for star players." [BANKS, L., 1-21-96] "Since Falk controls a large block of top players," noted the New York Times, "he can in many ways dictate the structure and the economics of the entire league. Falk is considered the second most powerful person in the NBA after its commissioner, David Stern [also Jewish]." [HIRSCHBERG, L., 11-17-96, p. 46]
Another prominent sports agent in the basketball world, Arn Tellem, is also Jewish (by 1997 he was the agent for 22 players, including Kobe Bryant and Reggie Miller). Tellem also has a reputation for representing temperamental and controversial players (described by the New York Daily News as "infamous clients"), including Latrell Sprewell, J. R. Rider, and baseball's Albert Belle. Tellem started out in the agent business with partner Steve Greenberg, who has since become the president of Classic Sports Network. [COFFEY, W., 12-7-97, p. 102]
Both Tellem's and Falk's companies were bought out in 1998-1999 by SFX Entertainment, a talent agent conglomerate founded and headed by Jewish entrepreneur Robert F. X. Silberman. [See Mass Media section] David Falk became the chairman of SFX's sports division, SFX Sports Group. [SANDOMIR, R., 1-30-2000, p. 15; NEW YORK TIMES, 10-1-99, p. D6]]
Basketball hero Magic Johnson has been represented by Leo Rosen since 1987. Eric Grossman is the agent of controversial baseball star Daryl Strawberry. Alan Hirchfeld (with a number of past problems with the law) went into business with boxer Mohammed Ali, founding Champion Sports Management. [JENKINS, p. 175] African-American golf star Tiger Woods' agent is Mark Steinberg. (Famous Black golf pro Arthur Ashe's father even "was a driver for a wealthy Jewish man in Richmond, Virginia, named William Thalhimer." [BERKOW, IRA, 12-26-95, p. D12] Superstar Ken Griffey's agent is Brian Goldberg. [msnbc.com, 7-28-01] Mark McGwire's agent as he chased major league baseball's single season home run record was Bob Cohen.
McGwire's home run challenger in recent years has been Sammy Sosa. In 2000, Sosa made the news when his charitable foundation in the Dominican Republic was revealed to be close to bankruptcy. "Chase Kaufman," noted the Associated Press, "a member of the foundation's board, said he once bought Sosa's brother, Jose, a sports car with money from the foundation.... Adam Katz, one of Sosa's agents, told [Fortune magazine], 'I can assure you there's been no impropriety." [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 4-4-2000] Katz also represents other players on Sosa's Chicago Cubs baseball team.
Sosa is also a client of Tom Reich. [FINDLER, C., 4-29-01]
Other prominent Jewish sports agents include Lawrence Fleisher who "was not only the [NBA] union's general counsel and strategist but also the biggest agent to NBA players, with a roster of more than 30 clients, most of them stars." [CHADWICK, p. 39] And down South, "no agent in the NFL," said a Florida newspaper in 1995, "has ever had as many players on one team  as [Drew] Rosenhaus has with the [Miami] Dolphins, and so in this new era of free agency, no agent has wielded so much potential influence over a single team." [MELL, p. 1C]
Rosenhaus' autobiography is called A Shark Never
Sleeps. Wheeling and Dealing with the NFL's Most Ruthless Agent. "I
was born -- to be an agent," says Rosenhaus. "I was nurtured
to dominate in this business from the day my parents brought me home from
the hospital." [ROSENHAUS, D., 1997, p. 13] He was born, too, to
a very affluent family: "My first car was a Porsche 944, then I had
a Delorean. I had cars like that in high school because my dad would sacrifice
the world so that I could be THE MAN. Cars were the thing at that age.
They identified you. So my dad, whatever it took, found a way to make
me the man." [ROSENHAUS, D., 1997, p. 25]
Another prominent Jewish lawyer/agent, Frank Rothman, also represented the National Basketball League itself, as well as National Football League. Still another, Bob Woolf, represented 9 of the 12 Boston Celtics in their most recent championship years, 14 of the members of 1967 Boston Red Sox (a championship year), and 2,000 clients in total. "I'm very Jewish-oriented," said Woolf in 1992, "[and] ... I'm proud of the basketball tournament that's been held in my name in Israel for the past 15 years." [ROTHENBERG, p. 22]
In 1990, sports agents Lloyd Bloom and Norby Walters were convicted by jury trial of "racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy, and two counts of mail fraud." An appeals court overruled the conviction. These agents preyed upon college athletes, breaking NCAA collegiate rules to sign sports stars to contracts before they finished college. In a three year period, 58 athletes were signed from 32 different schools. Walters, also a booking agent (for a short time even the agent of African-American singer Dionne Warwick) and nightclub owner, had ties to organized crime. (Mobster Michael Franzese even testified that he invested in the two agents' business start-up costs). Bloom was initially convicted of fraud and making extortionist threats to former clients. In 1992, Bloom only pleaded guilty to mail fraud. [FIFFER, S., 1989, 4-14-89; FIFFER, S., 1989, 4-23-89; LEGAL INTELLIGENCER, 8-31-92, p. 4]
In the bodybuilding world, Joe Gold founded the famed Gold's Gym and, later, World Gym. But another Jewish entrepreneur, Joe Weider, has long dominated the sport as the most aggressive business monopolizer of weight training products and bodybuilding competitions. Weider started the Mr. Olympia bodybuilding contest in the 1960s; he brought Arnold Schwartzenegger to America in 1968. By the late 1990s Weider's empire was worth $400 million and nephew Eric Weider was installed as the CEO of the Weider Health and Fitness company. The Weiders run 12 brands and produce about 1,400 products; in the nutrition category, these include Tiger's Milk, PrimeTime, Fi-Bar, Signature, Great American Nutrition, Excel, Metaform, and Victory. Weider products can be found in 38,000 retail outlets, in every American state. [CHAIN DRUG REVIEW, p. 260] Bob Paris, a former Mr. Universe also under contract to Joe Weider, and whose personal manager was also Jewish, Harry Kessel, notes that
"For good or bad, Joe and his brother Ben control bodybuilding.
The company they both privately own publishes magazines
(Muscle and Fitness, Shape, Flex, and Men's Fitness), makes
vitamins and other supplements, training equipment, and fitness
clothing. Joe is publisher of the magazines and overseas operations
of the empire. His brother Ben keeps a low public profile as far as
all the companies are concerned, but is president of the International
Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB), an organization with 160 or
more member nations that for all intents and purposes is the only legitimate
international bodybuilding organization ... The Weider brothers claim that
the IFBB and the Weider companies are separate and completely
unrelated. Only a naive fool would believe that." [PARIS, p. 72-73]
In what Paris suggests is a "monopoly" of the Weider firms and the IFBB, the most exceptional bodybuilders are inevitably forced to sign promotional contracts with Weider for his product endorsements and to pursue a career in the field. "They put a clause in the IFBB rule book," says Paris, "that says an athlete can be suspended just for publicly criticizing or questioning any of the policies of the IFBB or its officers." [PARIS, p. 74]
In the field of violent spectacle, Robert Meyrowitz, president and CEO of SEG Sports, is the brainchild (and Executive Producer) behind the regularly scheduled Ultimate Fighting Championships where "almost anything goes -- elbow chops, head butts, knees to the groin (only eye gouging and biting are frowned upon)." [PLUMMER, p. 86] Meyrowitz, noted Forbes, in his earlier years, was "one of the leading radio impresarios in the United States, supplying hundreds of stations with canned programs." [NEWCOMB, p. 328] His new company markets brutal fighting on pay-per-TV, in 1995 reaching 300,000 American homes for $24.95 per showing. By then, however, his bouts were formally banned in three states -- Kansas, Ohio, and South Carolina. Senator John McCain of Arizona joined many protesters, saying that he objected to the UFC on "a moral level ... [It embodies] the decay of American society. And I'm opposed because of risk to the health of the combatants." [PLUMMER, p. 86] By 1998, because of continued angry nation-wide condemnation, Meyrowitz's promotions were formally banned on many pay-per-view networks, including Cablevision Systems, InterMedia Partners, CI, TIme-Warner, Adelphia, Jones Intercable, and Request.
Promoter Don Gold, at a company that distributed UFC bouts on videotape (Vidmark Entertainmment), noted that the action in one of their most recent tapes "was very violent. There was a lot of blood, broken bones, and some fighters were taken away in an ambulance. But people into martial arts will love this." [FITZPATRICK, p. 57] Rich Goffman, a marketing executive at Star Video, who had an advanced screening of the Vidmark tape, observed that "on one hand, it was sick and I was horrified because it was so brutal. On the other hand, it was unique and nothing like anything I've ever seen before." [FITZPATRICK, p. 57]
In the world of scripted theatrical (i.e., "fake") wrestling, Eric Bischoff heads the World Championship Wrestling organization. David Meltzer publishes the Wrestling Observer. [BACHMAN, J., 4-8-2000] One of the major promotions of the WCW is a former professional football player, Bill Goldberg, known simply in all the sensational hype by his clearly Jewish last name. He recalls what image he sought to create in his wrestling character, i.e., what would be his best marketing ploy:
"I was considering calling myself the Beast, or the Annihilator,
and I even went so far as considering the name 'the Mossad,'
after the Israeli secret service." [GOLDBERG, B., 2000, p. 50]
He decided on simply his last name, which has become a media icon for Jewish physical (and other?) power. Goldberg's managers are also Jewish, Barry Bloom and Michael Braverman. The man Goldberg fought early in his career for the U.S. title in this world of creation and illusion was also Jewish: Scott Levy, known professionally as "Raven." [GOLDBERG, B., 2000, p. 74] (Other Jewish wrestlers in the circuit include Dean Simon [stage name: Dean Malenko] and Barry Horowitz). [GOLDBERG, B., 2000, p. 110] Goldberg, so recognizably Jewish, was introduced into the WCW with over 150 straight (scripted) victories. Although Goldberg's accomplishments are merely orchestrated, theatrical illusion, he notes that
"there is a marketing company in New York that conducts surveys
to determine the popularity and marketability of celebrities and athletes.
The result is called the Q rating. Michael Jordan [the basketball star] had
the highest Q rating in the country for ten years. At one point in 1998,
he dropped to number two behind ... yes, as strange as it may seem,
it was Goldberg the wrestler." [GOLDBERG, B., 2000, p. 116]
"Thanks to the tremendous media coverage," he notes elsewhere, "my popularity was skyrocketing. It's funny, because people have actually come up to me and asked if Goldberg is my real name." [GOLDBERG, B., 2000 p. 110]
Goldberg was the only wrestler listed in the 1999 Sporting News "Most Powerful People" in sports. "Goldberg," notes Daniel De Vise and Jared Varsallone,
"once appeared on the front page of the newspaper USA Today beside
a headline that read, 'How Bad Is Wrestling for Your Kids? ... The Jewish
National Fund will present him with its prestigious Tree of Life award this
fall in Israel." [DE VISE/VARSALLONE, 8-6-2000]
In 1996, Jewish entrepreneurs Marvin Winkler and Jay Schottenstein bought into the Gotcha company, an organization that "owned U.S. Surfing, which produces the OP Pro Surfing Championship, a television show and three extreme-sports magazines. A year later, they owned a controlling interest in both companies." [EARNEST/RECKARD, 10-10-99, p. C1] Going hiking? Mark Goldman is Chairman of Eastpak, a Massachusetts-based backpack manufacturer. [GELBWASSER, M., 6-11-98, p. 2] Bowling? In 2000, Rob Glaser became one of three owners of the Professional Bowlers' Association (PBA). [PEZZANO, C., 3-26-2000, p. S19] The head of Brunswick, the billiards and bowling firm founded in the late 1800s, was John Brunswick. He was also Jewish. His son-in-law, Moses Bensinger, took over the company at the founder's death. [JEWHOO, 2000]
Going skiing? By 1973, Mark Fleischman and Robert Millman headed the company (Davos) that ran "the biggest ski area in the world," Mt. Snow, in Vermont. [Berry, I.W., 1973, p. 113] More recently, "two of the country's largest ski operators" are Vail Resorts (its holdings, rooted in Colorado, include Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone) and the American Skiing Company (which includes Steamboat Springs and Sunday River in Maine. In 1997 alone, this firm also bought Heavenly at Lake Tahoe and Wolf Mountain -- now called The Canyons -- in Utah). The CEO of American Skiing is Les Otten, son of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. The CEO of Vail Resorts is Adam Aron. [GONZALEZ, E., 1999, p. 1G] The (Jewish) Crown family also own Colorado's Aspen Skiing resort company. "Aspen [Colorado] is the Crown's playground," notes Chicago magazine, "Lester and at least three of his children own homes there, and family members are on the boards of the Aspen Foundation and Aspen Institute." [LALICH, p. 50]
Above text from:
WHEN VICTIMS RULE. A CRITIQUE OF JEWISH PRE-EMINENCE IN AMERICA
See also: Jews in Sports