Pro Football, 2011 and a Sports Movie
The following is a list of Jewish players on an NFL team roster as of Sept. 13. All these players have at least one Jewish parent and were raised Jewish or secular. This list was prepared with the aid of Jewish Sports Review magazine. I have placed an (M) or a (P) following the player’s name to indicate which parent is Jewish if the player doesn’t have two Jewish parents:
GREG CAMARILLO, 29, (M), wide-receiver; Minnesota; BRIAN DE LA PUENTE, 26, (M), guard, New Orleans; ANTONIO GARAY, 31, (M), nose tackle, San Diego. After 7 years with four NFL teams in which Garay hardly played due to injuries, he finally had a good season in 2010 and earned the starting spot; KYLE KOSIER, 32, (M), guard, Dallas; ERIK LORIG (P), 24, tight end/fullback, Tampa Bay; TAYLOR MAYS, 23, (M), safety, Cincinnati; ADAM PODLESH, 28, punter, Chicago; SAGE ROSENFELS, 33, (P), back-up quarterback, NY Giants. As I write this, Rosenfels is on injured reserve, as is GEOFF SCHWARTZ, 25, offensive tackle, Carolina.
This season’s only rookie is GABE CARIMI, 23, right tackle, Chicago. A practicing Jew and a great college player, Gabe was the Bears’ 1st round draft pick. His Jewish father, a medical doctor, took the last name of his Italian stepfather. Gabe’s mother is a Jew-by-choice. Nice to note: I stumbled on a reference that Gabe’s mother teaches classes on how to cook chicken soup at her Wisconsin synagogue.
Sad to note: veterans DAVID BINN (San Diego) and IGOR OLSHANSKY (Dallas) were cut just before the season began.
Opening Friday, Sept. 23, is “Moneyball,” about how real-life Oakland A’s baseball team general manager Billy Beane put together winning teams by defying conventional wisdom and using deep computer statistical analysis in drafting and trading for players. Directed by BENNETT MILLER, 44 (“Capote”), the film stars Brad Pitt (Beane), with JONAH HILL, 27, as Beane’s right hand man.
More Mad Mel Notes
You probably heard that Mel Gibson has made a deal with Warner Bros. to produce a film on the life of JUDAH MACCABEE (he may also direct). Atlantic Magazine writer JEFFREY GOLDBERG, in a Sept. 9 web article, has a fascinating interview he did with Gibson about two years ago when he heard rumors that Gibson was interested in making this movie. Rather than summarize it, I urge you just read it—log on to: http://tinyurl.com/3ndf2a9 I will note that I endorse Goldberg’s view that protests, as with Gibson’s “Jesus movie,” are largely ineffective and actually help Gibson via the free publicity for his movies.
Here are a few points of my own, not in other articles I’ve seen on this subject: Gibson, who makes anti-Semitic remarks, and almost certainly holds profoundly anti-Semitic views, is the son of Hutton Gibson, a virulently anti-Semitic, ultra-traditionalist Catholic who denies the Holocaust.
Nonetheless, Gibson produces films about his Jewish faves, including a documentary about singer LEONARD COHEN and a made-for-TV movie about the lives of The Three Stooges, who were all Jewish. (By “produce,” I mean Gibson helps ‘launch’ the making of the film and to a certain extent overseas its making. He may also provide some financing. These are all things that movie producers do).
This “weird contradiction” is somewhat replicated in the life of Joe Eszterhas (“Basic Instinct”), who has been signed to do the Maccabee film screenplay.
Eszterhas’ family background is traditionalist Catholic, like Gibson, and his father, Istvan, edited a Cleveland Catholic newspaper.
But here’s another, even creepier connection between the two guys’ fathers: Joe Eszterhas wrote “The Music Box” (1989), a fictional feature film about a Hungarian immigrant who is tried for war crimes against Jews. Not long after “Music Box” opened, Joe Eszterhas found out that Istvan Eszterhas was being investigated by the Justice Dept. for helping Hungarian Catholic fascists persecute/kill Jews during WWII. In his autobiography, Joe Eszterhas writes: “My father worked in the propaganda ministry … had written hundreds of vicious anti-Semitic editorials … edited Government-funded anti-Semitic publications … and had even organized a book burning.”
Istvan Eszterhas was ultimately not deported because he was so old and didn’t personally harm any Jew). The revelation of his father’s background caused Joe to be largely estranged from his father until his father’s death. Unlike Mel Gibson, Joe Eszterhas has been nothing but pro-Jewish. Still, it’s a strange duo to be making a film about Hanukkah’s biggest hero.
Nate Bloom writes a weekly column on Jewish celebrities, broadly defined, that appears in the Atlanta Jewish Times, the Cleveland Jewish News, the American Israelite of Cincinnati, the Detroit Jewish News, and the New Jersey Jewish Standard. It also appears bi-weekly in j., the Jewish news weekly of northern California. Most of the items in Bloom’s weekly newspaper column differ from the items in his bi-weekly column on interfaith celebrities for InterfaithFamily.com. If you wish to contact Nate Bloom, e-mail him at email@example.com. The author welcomes questions and celebrity “tips,” especially about people you personally know.