Deadspin first put up this video of Tom Arnold vs. Michael Strahan on last night's episode of The Best Damn Sports Show, Period. In which apparently Tom Arnold's book, How I Lost Five Pounds in Six Years: An Autobiography, (or, at least, that's the only book authored by Tom Arnold I can find) caused controversy with his former showmates, which spilled over into a physical brawl.
Deadspin makes the following cases for and against the video being real:
And yes, I’m aware of the date on today’s calendar. There’s a very good chance that this was staged. I’ll make the case for both. First, the argument that it was real:
• Tom Arnold is shaking and looks visibly upset before the scuffle.
• I tend to doubt that Chris Rose, Rodney Peete, and Michael Strahan are that have that kind of acting capability. I’ve seen Strahan’s Right Guard commercial.
• The show didn’t come back on the air afterwards.
• Well, it just looks kinda real.
And now, the case that it was staged:
• It was the day before April Fools, and we all know how zany and madcap these guys can be.
• How does Michael Strahan left himself try to fight Tom Arnold? You set the NFL’s single season sack record, and you want a piece of Tom Arnold? Who’s next on your list, Paul from the Wonder Years?
I gotta tell ya, at this point, I’m leaning towards real. And I hope I’m right, because think of all the wonderful trash talk that could emerge from this that could be used against Michael Strahan.
I'll make the following cases for it being fake:
- Deadspin is currently the only place on the Web reporting about this fight.
- Deadspin is currently the only place on the Web where I can find anyone stating that Tom Arnold's book has angered his former showmates (is that even a word? Sorry.).
- Michael Strahan does not win the fight. As I put it in Deadspin's comments, "You'd have to believe that if that little twerp [Arnold] went after Michael Strahan, even seated in a chair with other people helping him, he wouldn't pull all his limbs back intact afterwards."
- I've watched it a few times and still can't figure out how Strahan supposedly injured his shoulder.
- As another Deadspin commenter pointed out, why would they even air the show if this had happened? It's not live. They'd have just put up a rerun.
More to that point, why does the camera luridly focus in on the fight, and then on the "injured" and writhing Strahan before cutting to commercial?
However...I gotta give them credit if it is a fake, because as has also been brought up, the kind of subtlety would be off-the-charts for them. As would Tom Arnold's acting ability, if he were faking his panic attack before the fight (although you gotta figure, even if the fight is planned, Arnold would have to be crazy to want to go after Strahan, period). And it could be that no one else is reporting on it because they're waiting to see if it was a joke or not.
Even if this is an April Fool's Day post, you gotta hand it to Deadspin for throwing something like this out there. It isn't necessarily easy to figure out.
So what do you think?
Update: Jig's up. Deadspin has updated that the clip is actually a joke. However, both the clip and the post were the best April Fool's Day spoof I've seen this year, and the confusion over its authenticity puts a thought-provoking emphasis on just how ridiculous the world of sports and sports media has become. Kudos to all involved--especially Strahan, who deserves some kind of award for his committment to the role, particularly in his high-pitched squeal of "my shoulder!"