November 27, 2011
Well, we finally have access to full video documentation of perhaps the most-discussed septuagenarian fight ever, Friday's brawl between two 73-year-old former CFL players which is even starting to overshadow Sunday's Grey Cup. It all went down at the CFL Alumni Legends Luncheon, where former Hamilton Tiger-Cats' defensive tackle Angelo Mosca and former B.C. Lions' quarterback Joe Kapp were put on stage next to each other. Behind them, the alumni association rolled video highlights of the 1963 Grey Cup, and that may not have been the best move; Mosca knocked out star B.C. running back Willie Fleming with a controversial hit in that game, the Tiger-Cats won 21-10 and Kapp has apparently been mad about it since. Here's video of exactly what happened next (warning: there is some audible language some may find objectionable):
The action starts almost immediately when Mosca and Kapp are both invited up on stage. Kapp holds a flower out towards Mosca, Mosca responds "Stick it up your a##," to cheers, Kapp then does stick the flower right into Mosca's face (as claimed in Mosca's version of events), then Mosca hits him with a handheld mike. Mosca then delivers the titular cane to the face a couple of times, and hard, while Kapp returns fire with a bull rush and a couple of punches and knocks Mosca through the curtain. The audience reaction is mixed between laughter (probably at least partly from shock, or in thinking this was a stunt), boos and speechlessness. After the two are separated, Kapp then starts talking to the audience, saying "I brought him a nice peace offering, but he didn't want to do it." Some in the crowd yell at Kapp to "let it go", and he responds, "I'm trying to let it go!"
On one hand, this fight has been seen as some form of comic relief from the serious football matters this week, but the video is quite troubling. These guys weren't playing around, particularly when you see Mosca's hard cane to Kapp's face and Kapp's response of knocking Mosca to the floor. Someone could have been badly hurt here, and given these guys' ages, the danger of serious injury is even higher. It's also not the best advertisement for the CFL to have two of its legendary alumni engage in an all-out brawl like this.
It's not entirely clear who started it, as Mosca delivers the first real insult in the video, but he says Kapp started it earlier, Kapp does the first physical move (flower to the face) and Mosca turns it into a fight (cane to the face). Still, neither of these guys comes out looking good. They're both grown men with a lifetime of amazing experiences behind them; after his incredible career in the CFL, Mosca would go on to be a famed professional wrestler, while Kapp went on to star with the NFL's Minnesota Vikings, act and then serve as a head coach (at Cal, where he was on the winning side of The Play). Is it really worth it for them to engage in such a serious fight over something that happened in a single game 48 years ago?
Emotions and grudges are common amongst football players, sure, and no one's saying Mosca and Kapp have to get along, but just some pointed trash talk back and forth would probably be better in the future. This is a great video and an unbelievable story, but it's not a perfect way to resolve differences, and it goes against much of what makes the CFL so compelling, the way fans of all teams set aside their differences and enjoy a celebration of the game they all love. If Tiger-Cats' and Lions' fans can come together peacefully, shouldn't those clubs' legends be able to do the same?