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Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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    Friday, October 06, 2006

    HELP SAVE SUNSET PARK BOXING 

    I received the message reposted below by e-mail about the closing of yet another boxing facility, this time in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, for young people here in New York City. This is but one more unfortunate example of the bias against combat sports like boxing, wrestling, and mixed martial arts that is so pervasive in what has become this wormy apple of a town. But, as you see, people are rallying on all fronts to fight for their right to fight.

    After this message is a press release put out by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) about the need to save the Sunset Park Boxing Gym.

    Please repost these messages and help spread the word.

    HELP SAVE SUNSET PARK BOXING

    Down for the count? - Newsday.com

    New York Daily News - Home - KO of kids boxing is called a low blow

    New York Daily News - News & Views Columnists - Denis Hamill: Fund-raiser's a KO for city kids

    The Sunset Park Boxing Club was established by Police Officers, run by Police Officers and financed by Police Officers & Firefighters through various Boxing Fund Raisers.

    For over twenty years this program has provided neighborhood youth with a positive alternative to the gangs and drugs that surround them without costing the taxpayers of NYC one penny.

    I am asking everyone to please send an e mail to the Deputy Director of Public Programs from the NYC Parks Mr. Kevin Jeffrey @
    kevin.jeffrey@parks.nyc.gov
    and respectfully ask them to re-consider and let our programs co-exist as they have successfully for the last twenty years.

    Below is the last e mail that I received from Mr. Jeffrey.

    Mr. Russo

    Thanks for again forwarding the Denis Hamill column.

    Please be assured that I am aware of all your program has done for some of the young people in the community. But I think you should probably be discussing this with PAL leadership who, I am sure, has mentioned to you the necessity of removing the boxing ring.

    We have spoken to the many individuals you had asked to contact us, and I hope they have reaffirmed to you the spirit in which this decision was made.

    The NYC Department of Health, at the behest of your organization, I believe, revisited the facility and subsequently upheld the determination that the ring must go if Parks is to continue to serve the hundreds of children registered in our Afterschool program. They are prepared to hold us in non-compliance for failure to remove the ring.

    We are aware that some components of the ring are Parks' property, but we are prepared to deliver the entire ring to PAL, if necessary. In any case, it must be removed from the center by week's end.

    Kevin Jeffrey

    Please cc NYPDBOXING@aol.com on all e mails that you send.

    Thank You,

    Pat Russo
    Boxing Director PAL/NYPD

    Sen. Schumer: Save Sunset Park Boxing Gym

    SCHUMER TO NYC PARK COMMISSONER BENEPE: "DON'T THROW IN THE TOWEL ON SUNSET PARK BOXING GYM"

    October 5, 2006

    Founded and Run By Off-Duty NYPDers, Sunset Park Boxing Gym Offers City Youth Exercise, Guidance and Protection from Crime, Drugs and Gangs

    Schumer Letter Calls on Parks Department to Either Stop Eviction Orders on Gym or Find it a New Home

    Following a recent decision by Commissioner Adrian Benepe of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to evict the Sunset Park Boxing Club from its current home at 4302 7 th Avenue, Brooklyn, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the Parks Department to repeal the eviction order and reinstate the valuable after-school program at its current location. For the past twenty years, the boxing gym based in Sunset Park, Brooklyn and run by the Police Athletic League has offered neighborhood children a safe outlet to exercise, socialize and develop discipline under the supervision and instruction of New York City Police Officers. Benepe, however, recently ordered the boxing gym to leave its twenty-year old home in order to make room for a new program that will be housed there. Concerned that the children of Sunset Park could lose an invaluable after-school program that is vital to protecting them from crime, gangs, and violence, Schumer called on the Parks Department to either stop the eviction process or, at the very least, find the boxing gym a new location nearby.

    "No one wins if the Sunset Park Boxing Club is evicted from its current location, and, sadly, it will be a knockout blow for many children who have come to rely on the gym as a place for both exercise and guidance," said Senator Schumer. "Therefore, I strongly urge Commissioner Benepe to reinstate the Sunset Park Boxing Club at the address it has called home for the past twenty years."

    The Sunset Park Boxing Club, founded twenty-years ago by retired cop Patrick "Patty" Russo and other police officers determined to contribute to their local community, offers Sunset Park children extracurricular activities in a neighborhood where positive outlets are scarce. The club has trained several Golden Gloves champions and a U.S. Junior Olympic champion, and today continues to be managed and financed by police officers and firefighters at virtually no expense to New York City taxpayers.

    The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation recently announced it will evict the boxing gym in order to make way for an alternative after-school program. Despite having enough space to house both programs, the Sunset Park Boxing Club was ordered to leave the address it's been at for twenty years. While the Senator commends Commissioner Benepe's efforts to offer additional opportunities to city children who all too often lack recreational activities, he is troubled that the livelihood of the boxing club is threatened under the new arrangement.

    "By introducing an after-school program at the expense of an existing one, you will be punishing a program that has been so effective in inoculating our city's young minds against the temptations of drugs, crime and gangs," said Senator Schumer. "Thanks to the efforts of the NYPD and the FDNY, The Sunset Park Boxing Club has been an inspirational archetype for after-school programs across the city. We must protect it."

    Because there is enough available space for both after-school programs, Senator Schumer is urging Commissioner Benepe to reinstate the Sunset Park Boxing Club at the address it has called home for the past twenty years. If Commissioner Benepe can offer the Senator and other concerned individuals involved a compelling argument on why the Sunset Park Boxing Club needs to be evicted, the Senator requests he at least find an alternative location for the club nearby.

    The sport of boxing has long been a celebrated part of Brooklyn athletics and the entire city's competitive nature. Historically a vital source of opportunity for immigrants and native born alike, boxing has rallied New Yorkers behind homegrown legends including: Rocky Graziano, Riddick Bowe, Jake LaMotta, Mark Breland, Floyd Patterson and Zab Juddah. Boxing is credited with keeping countless numbers of kids out of the streets, teaching discipline and creating a positive outlet for youthful energy.

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