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Top Five Beatdowns in Houston Sports

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More details are emerging about Brandon Backe's recent dust-up with Galveston's Finest and the news isn't good for the GPD.

Witnesses said Monday that police needlessly beat, Tasered and pepper-sprayed wedding guests who were trying to comply with police commands during an incident in which officers arrested 10 people, including Backe, at an outdoor bar at the San Luis Hotel on Seawall Boulevard.

Daniel Cole O'Balle, 19, was injured during the incident and flown by helicopter to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. Backe was charged with three counts of assault on a public servant and two counts of retaliation. He was released on $115,000 bond.

Whether you believe the po-po, who apparently felt the act of bringing open containers into the pool area warranted riot control tactics, or witnesses who claim Backe and others were assaulted despite complying with police instructions, I think we can all agree on one thing: it's time for a list of the top Houston-related sports beatdowns.

5. Oregon Duck vs. Shasta (unknown)

I don't know the circumstances of this altercation, though our beloved UH mascot doesn't come off well. Funny, because if you actually tried to lay Vegas odds on a fight between a duck and a cougar (they do that sort of thing in Laos), I'd have to think the bird would be about a 10,000 to 1 underdog. Bonus points for the petite - yet valiant - Houston cheerleader who tries to stop the carnage.

4. Earl Campbell vs. some poor bastard (unknown)

The Tyler Rose's reputation as one of the most dominating physical running backs of all time is well known, though years of punishing games against defensive lines stacked to stop him inflicted permanent damage to his body. However, only a handful of people were aware of Campbell's potential when he started playing for the University of Texas. This touchdown run, against an unknown team and a singularly unlucky defender, probably opened a lot of people's eyes.

3. Nolan Ryan vs. Robin Ventura (August 4, 1993)

Yeah, yeah...Ryan was pitching for the Texas Rangers at the time, but there's too much to love here: Ryan nonchalantly awaiting the charging Ventura; the way the 45-year old then proceeds to put the 26-year old in a headlock and land six unanswered punches; Ryan calmly buttoning his jersey back up. I love inspirational films.

2. Pete Rose vs. Bruce Bochy (1980 NLCS - Game 4)

The controversy surrounding Rose's perma-ban from MLB and the Hall of Fame sometimes eclipses what an aggressive player the former Charlie Hustle really was. Astros catcher Bruce Bochy isn't likely to forget anytime soon, however, and neither are Houston fans, who watched Rose tie up the series by steamrolling Bochy following a double by Greg Luzinski in the 10th.

1. Kermit Washington vs. Rudy Tomjanovich (December 9, 1977)

It's up there with Joe Theismann's leg or Richard Zednik's throat in terms of most disturbing sports injuries, and it directly led to the NBA's zero tolerance approach to on-court fighting. Books have been written and documentaries made about The Punch, and while it might be hard to dredge up sympathy for Washington, his life - in the long run - definitely turned out worse than Rudy T's.

-- Pete Vonder-Haar

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