CLOSE
Original image
Getty Images

12 Memorable Biting Incidents in Sports History

Original image
Getty Images

With a spot in the knockout stages on the line, Uruguay and Italy's match at the 2014 World Cup was a real nail-biter. It also was a shoulder-biter, thanks to Luis Suarez. The star Uruguayan striker appeared to take a chomp out of Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini that was caught by the cameras but not the referee. This wasn't Suarez's first toothy incident — the serial biter has done this type of thing before:

In the pantheon of all-time sporting biters, Suarez may be the king. Here are 12 other examples to chew on:

1. In 1997, Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield twice in a heavyweight bout. Referee Mills Lane deducted two points the first time. When Tyson bit Holyfield again in another clinch in the third round, Lane called the bout.

STEVE MARCUS/REUTERS/Landov

Announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr.'s reading of the decision -- "Referee Mills Lane has disqualified Mike Tyson for biting Evander Holyfield on both of his ears" -- was perhaps the most interesting in boxing history.

Tyson lost his boxing license but was reinstated a year later and, in 2009, he apologized to Holyfield on Oprah.

More recently, Holyfield had something to say on Twitter about Luis Suarez's incident at the World Cup:

2. In the 1983 NBA playoffs, a scrum broke out between Atlanta's center Wayne "Tree" Rollins and the Boston Celtics' Danny Ainge. Because Ainge was the smaller man and such a pest as a player, many mistakenly believe to this day he did the biting. But it was Ainge who received stitches and a tetanus shot after Rollins clamped down on his finger.

The next day's classic newspaper headline had to suffice: "Tree Bites Man."

3. South African rugby player Johan Le Roux bit New Zealand's Sean Fitzpatrick's ear during a real scrum in 1994. After learning of his lengthy suspension, Le Roux said, "For an 18-month suspension, I feel I probably should have torn it off."

4. Ottawa Senators right wing Jarko Ruutu denied biting the thumb of Buffalo's Andrew Peters in 2009 but was suspended for two games and fined $31,700. Makes the price of Kobe beef look like Alpo.

"I don't think if I did something that stupid I'd really be admitting to it either," Peters said.

5. Sevilla midfielder Francisco Gallardo celebrated a teammate's goal by biting on his genitals in the ensuing pileup. The teammate's genitals. The Royal Spanish Football Federation suspended and fined him for violating "sporting dignity and decorum."

It's the age-old question. Why did he do it? Because he could.

Said Gallardo: “I am sure I didn’t offend anyone. I don’t think what I did was very noteworthy.”

6. An English club rugby player accepted a 80-week ban in 2008 for an incident that left an opponent with "a partial amputation of the right index finger."

7. Vancouver winger Alex Burrows appeared to bite the right finger of Bruins center Patrice Bergeron during the first game of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals.

"They didn't see it," Bergeron said of the refs. "But we were speaking French and I [asked Burrows] why did he do that. That linesman speaks French, and he said that [Burrows'] explanation was that he put my finger in his mouth and he had to do it."

Boston's Milan Lucic taunted Burrows later in the series, offering his finger for a nibble.

8. Philadelphia Flyers enforcer Daniel Carcillo claimed Boston's Marc Savard bit him during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals series in 2010.

"Last time I have been bit was in grade school. It's not a good feeling. ... Guys don't bite. Men don't bite," Carcillo said.

Said Savard, "He pummeled on my face. He pulled on my teeth, so I guess that's biting when a guy tried and pull your front teeth out like his."

9. Auburn wide receiver Robert Baker caught a touchdown pass on the final play of a 1996 game against Georgia. Auburn won, apparently riling up Georgia Bulldog mascot Uga V, who lunged at Baker in the back of the endzone and tried to bite him. We should probably clarify here that Uga V is an actual canine and not a man dressed up as a dog.

10. Philadelphia's Aaron Asham claimed Pittsburgh Penguins' forward Matt Cooke bit him during a fight. "My glove got tangled in his mouth and he bit me, so I lost it," said Asham.

11. In 1997, broadcaster Marv Albert bit female companion Vanessa Perhach multiple times in Virginia, leading to a trial on assault charges. Albert admitted at the trial that biting was part of their sexual encounters but that long-time acquaintance Perhach had never lodged any complaints over it.

The plea agreement didn't come until after testimony from a surprise witness, Hyatt Hotels concierge Patricia Masten.

She said in another time and place she rejected Albert's biting advances, telling the court, “I went to grab his hair, and his hair lifted off.”

Albert understandably entered the plea agreement soon after and was given a 12-month suspended sentence.

12. In May 2014, catcher Miguel Olivo was playing for the L.A. Dodger's Triple-A affiliate, the Albuquerque Isotopes. He got in a fight during a game with teammate Alex Guerrero and, during the brawl, Olivo bit off part of Guerrero's ear. The incident eventually led to cosmetic surgery for Guerrero and signaled the end of Olivo's baseball career.

Bud Shaw is a columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer who has also written for the Philadelphia Daily News, San Diego Union-Tribune, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The National. You can read his Plain Dealer columns at Cleveland.com. Portions of this post appeared in 2012.

Original image
iStock
arrow
Big Questions
Who Was Chuck Taylor?
Original image
iStock

From Betty Crocker to Tommy Bahama, plenty of popular labels are "named" after fake people. But one product with a bona fide backstory to its moniker is Converse's Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers. The durable gym shoes are beloved by everyone from jocks to hipsters. But who's the man behind the cursive signature on the trademark circular ankle patch?

As journalist Abraham Aamidor recounted in his 2006 book Chuck Taylor, All Star: The True Story of the Man behind the Most Famous Athletic Shoe in History, Chuck Taylor was a former pro basketball player-turned-Converse salesman whose personal brand and tireless salesmanship were instrumental to the shoes' success.

Charles Hollis Taylor was born on July 24, 1901, and raised in southern Indiana. Basketball—the brand-new sport invented by James Naismith in 1891—was beginning to take the Hoosier State by storm. Taylor joined his high school team, the Columbus High School Bull Dogs, and was named captain.

After graduation, instead of heading off to college, Taylor launched his semi-pro career playing basketball with the Columbus Commercials. He’d go on to play for a handful of other teams across the Midwest, including the the Akron Firestone Non-Skids in Ohio, before finally moving to Chicago in 1922 to work as a sales representative for the Converse Rubber Shoe Co. (The company's name was eventually shortened to Converse, Inc.)

Founded in Malden, Massachusetts, in 1908 as a rubber shoe manufacturer, Converse first began producing canvas shoes in 1915, since there wasn't a year-round market for galoshes. They introduced their All-Star canvas sports shoes two years later, in 1917. It’s unclear whether Chuck was initially recruited to also play ball for Converse (by 1926, the brand was sponsoring a traveling team) or if he was simply employed to work in sales. However, we do know that he quickly proved himself to be indispensable to the company.

Taylor listened carefully to customer feedback, and passed on suggestions for shoe improvements—including more padding under the ball of the foot, a different rubber compound in the sole to avoid scuffs, and a patch to protect the ankle—to his regional office. He also relied on his basketball skills to impress prospective clients, hosting free Chuck Taylor basketball clinics around the country to teach high school and college players his signature moves on the court.

In addition to his myriad other job duties, Taylor played for and managed the All-Stars, a traveling team sponsored by Converse to promote their new All Star shoes, and launched and helped publish the Converse Basketball Yearbook, which covered the game of basketball on an annual basis.

After leaving the All-Stars, Taylor continued to publicize his shoe—and own personal brand—by hobnobbing with customers at small-town sporting goods stores and making “special appearances” at local basketball games. There, he’d be included in the starting lineup of a local team during a pivotal game.

Taylor’s star grew so bright that in 1932, Converse added his signature to the ankle patch of the All Star shoes. From that point on, they were known as Chuck Taylor All-Stars. Still, Taylor—who reportedly took shameless advantage of his expense account and earned a good salary—is believed to have never received royalties for the use of his name.

In 1969, Taylor was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The same year, he died from a heart attack on June 23, at the age of 67. Around this time, athletic shoes manufactured by companies like Adidas and Nike began replacing Converse on the court, and soon both Taylor and his namesake kicks were beloved by a different sort of customer.

Still, even though Taylor's star has faded over the decades, fans of his shoe continue to carry on his legacy: Today, Converse sells more than 270,000 pairs of Chuck Taylors a day, 365 days a year, to retro-loving customers who can't get enough of the athlete's looping cursive signature.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

Original image
retro-wrestling, eBay
arrow
Pop Culture
The Time a Wrestling Fan Tried to Shoot Bobby Heenan in the Ring
Original image
retro-wrestling, eBay

For a man who didn't wrestle much, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan wound up becoming more famous than a lot of the men flexing in the squared circle. The onscreen manager of several notable grapplers, including André the Giant and “Ravishing” Rick Rude, Heenan died on Sunday at the age of 73. His passing has led to several tributes recalling his memorable moments, from dressing up in a weasel suit to hosting a short-lived talk show on TNT.

While Heenan’s “heel” persona was considered great entertainment, there was a night back in 1975 when he did his job a little too well. As a result, an irate fan tried to assassinate him in the ring.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Heenan was appearing at the International Amphitheater in Chicago as part of the now-defunct AWA wrestling promotion when his performance began to grate on the nerves of an unnamed attendee seated on the floor. Eyewitnesses described the man as friendly up until wrestlers Verne Gagne and Nick Bockwinkel started their bout with Heenan at ringside in Bockwinkel’s corner.

“Get Heenan out of there,” the fan screamed, possibly concerned his character would interfere in a fair contest. Heenan, known as “Pretty Boy” at the time, began to distract the referee, awarding an advantage to his wrestler. When the official began waving his arms to signal Heenan to stop interrupting, the fan apparently took it as the match being over and awarded in Bockwinkel’s favor. He drew a gun and began firing.

The man got off two shots, hitting three bystanders with one bullet and two more with the other before running out of the arena. (No fatalities were reported.) Security swarmed the scene, getting medical attention for the injured and escorting both Heenan and the wrestlers to the back.

According to Heenan, the shooter was never identified by anyone, and he was brazen enough to continue attending wrestling cards at the arena. ("Chicago really took that 'no snitching' thing to heart back then," according to Uproxx.)

Heenan went on to spend another 30 years in the business getting yelled at and hit with chairs, but was never again forced to dodge a bullet.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios