T   H   H  E
  T   H   H  E
  T   H   H  EEEEE

PPPP   OOOO  RRRR  TTTTT L       A   N   N DDDD  I   A   N   N TM
P   P O    O R   R   T   L      A A  NN  N D   D I  A A  NN  N
PPPP  O    O RRRR    T   L     AAAAA N N N D   D I AAAAA N N N
P     O    O R   R   T   L     A   A N  NN D   D I A   A N  NN
P      OOOO  R   R   T   LLLLL A   A N   N DDDD  I A   A N   N

The Portlandian, the Internet's premier source of Tonya News

February 22, 2003 Edition - LETS GET READY TO RUMBLE - AGAIN
(C) 2003 Portland Ice Skating Society


After much confusion over the past week, it appears that the 
Tyson/Etienne fight - and with it Tonya's debut as a professional 
boxer - is now on. As you'd expect for anything involving Tyson 
(or for that matter, Tonya) nothing is straightforward, with 
first Tyson, then Etienne, seemingly unsure if they wanted to 
fight. Initially Tyson failed to turn up for training and missed 
two flights to Memphis. He has also obtained a weird facial 
tattoo which he describes as a New Zealand Maori design, though 
according to real Maori artists it isn't. Then Etienne said he 
wouldn't dance to Tyson's tune and threatened to pull out, with 
talk of an alternative opponent being found. Then he changed his 

Tonya, who has with great predictability been dubbed "The Great 
White Trash Hope" by Jay Leno, will make her debut fighting 
Samantha Browning, who appears to be a complete unknown whose 
previous fighting experience seems to be limited to bar-room 
brawls. Browning, a 21-year-old who hails from of Mantachie, 
Miss. is married to a boxer by the name of Nelson Browning and 
cleans houses for a living. You can find more information about 
her in this article (watch for the URL wrap):,1426,MCA_2156_17139

The promoters apppear to have wisely chosen someone who will be 
an equal match-up for Tonya. She sounds quite alot like Tonya, in 
fact from the photos in the article she even looks rather like 
Tonya. She also sounds sympathetic to Tonya, saying "I guess 
she's an all right person from what I've heard about her. 
Everybody's got a past." It will almost be a shame to see Tonya 
beat her up. It's a pity the fight organizers couldn't have found 
somebody we'd enjoy seeing Tonya pulverize instead, like some 
sleazy lying skating judge. Watching Marie Reine Le Gougne 
getting the crap beat out of her would have been much more fun 
for any skating fan. 

Also worth a look are these articles:

Photos of the weigh-in are available at:

Tonya's godmother, Linda Lewis, has sent us this message about 
how Tonya is preparing for the big event:

  Dear Tonya fans:

  Just an update to let you know how Tonya is doing in her 
  training for her upcoming boxing event. As you probably know by
  now, she is the under card for Mike Tyson, who is the main
  event. Not bad for her first fight. She's been training very
  hard, and is in great shape. She's looking forward to this new
  career move, and would like one day to become a world champion.
  If anyone can do it, our Tonya can. So if you happen to live in
  or near Memphis, I hope you'll go to see her and give her your
  support, if it's not sold out yet. It's on February 22 at the
  Pyramid in Memphis. It will be an exciting event, with a lot of
  media coverage. It would be wonderful for Tonya to have the 
  support of her fans there to cheer her on. She sends her best 
  to all of you, and hopes to see you there.

  Best regards to you all,

  Linda Lewis

For those who can't make it, the fight is screening on Showtime, 
including, we understand, Tonya's bout.

And should anyone doubt how serious Tonya is about her new 
career, she's signed a four-year deal with Prize Fight Boxing of 
Nashville. further bouts are expected at a Biloxi casino on March 
15 and in Oklahoma near the end of March.


It appears that the hotsauce controversy just won't go away. Just 
recently we were informed about this site operated by the sauce 

It also contains links to several interesting Tonya-related 
items, such as this one that aired recently on a show called 
"Celebrity Justice". You can view a clip from the show using 

The show features real lawyers arguing the case for and against 
Tonya being ripped off. Don't expect much in the way of dry dusty 
case law, though. This is more like a debate. And did anyone 
notice how the lawyer arguing for Tonya looks alot like a certain 
New England figure skater?


With Speedy's new lottery-style judging system coming under heavy 
fire, it seems he's resorting to Francoist-style jackboot tactics 
to squash all dissention in the ranks. For instance, "Blades on 
Ice" correspondent James Cowling reported that at the recent 
European championships Euro Sport presenters were being told to 
follow the ISU line. Euro Sport broadcasters from all over Europe 
were given a written threat note instructing them to support 
Cinquanta and his reforms. The message came from one of the 
television network's senior producers just days before Euro Sport 
had an exclusive interview with Speedy.

What's next, Speedy? Threats of dead horses in the bed? Speedy's 
Italian heritage seems to be showing with this "Sopranos" style 
stuff. Thankfully he can't censor the Internet in the same way as 
he can the mainstream media. In the same way as the Internet has 
helped the anti-war movement organize rapidly in a way impossible 
in the past, so it has had the same effect for disgruntled ice 
skating fans. According to the Washington Post, a group of 
skating fans calling themselves SkateFAIR - Skating Fans for 
Accountability and ISU Reform - plan to protest outside the MCI 
Center in D.C. during Worlds on March 29. The group originated 
via discussions on the Internet and already has over 100 members. 
Their aim is to put the ISU on notice that they want a code of 
ethics and zero tolerance for cheating judges.

By the way, another way you can help is by signing this petition:

Make sure you leave a message explaining why you don't support 
Speedy's reforms.


In the final episode in Joe's series on his time as part of Team 
Tonya, he wraps up with his dealings with the media.


Well, I'm going to try and get through this media-circus stuff 
and get it out of the way.  After returning from New York, I went 
to live with my friends Bryan W. and Robin M. Pietz at their home 
in Aloha (State of Oregon).  They have two children.  I slept in 
the attic of their home, in a sleeping bag.  During that time, I 
was telephoned several times a day by media outlets.  I ended up 
doing live gigs on two Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) Radio 
Network programs.  I went with crews from television outlets to 
other locations (I didn't want to give my friends unnecessary 
exposure) for interviews.  I talked my head off to print-media 

While doing all this I missed a few opportunities to spread the 
Gospel According to Tonya.  Peter Jennings and the American 
Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) News folks wanted me for an 
interview, but I was gone someplace that day and missed that 
chance.  The one live-broadcast experience of which I am the most 
proud was done with me standing on top of a camera box across the 
street from the Justice Center:  I was on the Cable Network News 
(CNN) program "Crossfire" with a "New York Times" reporter 
covering Tonya and a "Detroit Free Press" reporter who was a 
Tonya-basher.  I believe I successfully refuted the Tonya-
basher's allegations in a non-stop speech which I deliberately 
maintained until the commercial-break sign, so as to give people 
a chance to digest what I'd said before the Tonya-basher had a 
chance to argue with me.  After the commercial break, she (the 
Basher) had toned way down and didn't challenge me!

Anyway, there were other television gigs:  a live gig on CNN's 
"Sonja Live" program, where I was on audio only from the 
Clackamas Town Center parking lot -- sitting in the CNN field 
producer's car on a cellular telephone.  After the program began 
I had to piss so bad it hurt!  But I couldn't leave, could I?  
What we don't endure for Tonya!

I'm sure there are other gigs I'm forgetting, but it's just as 
well:  I'm sure you get the general idea.  Oh, there's one more 
scenario I'd like to pass along.  A crew from the television 
tabloid-format program "American Journal" contacted me one day 
and asked that I meet them at their temporary office downtown 
that evening.  My friend Bryan went with me (as I had no vehicle 
of my own).  The reporter-guy was very polite but kept trying to 
get me to say things that just weren't so; and I could tell he 
was disappointed that I wouldn't dance his dance.

A few days later, I received a telephone call from an "American 
Journal" producer who wanted me to meet with another crew from 
that program.  They came by the house where I was staying (the 
attic place); and I noticed this was a different bunch from the 
first "American Journal" crew.  They'd decided that, since I 
wouldn't say the desired negative things about Tonya, they'd send 
in their heavy artillery.  We got to the schoolyard where I'd 
agreed to be interviewed (again wanting to keep my hosts out of 
the picture); and this new reporter-guy lit into me as if I'd 
just killed his wife.  "You know Tonya is lying!  Why can't you 
admit she's lying?"  "I don't know any such thing," I replied.  
"I have told you the facts as I know them and I cannot tell you 
anything else."  "How dare you refuse to answer my questions?" he 
shouted.  "I am a journalist!  You must answer my questions!"

Geez, what a show!  "I have answered your questions to the best 
of my ability and now this interview is over," I announced and 
walked away.  The reporter stood there stunned.  The other crew-
members just looked down at the ground, probably ashamed of what 
they were a part of; but they were professionals and were only 
doing their jobs.  It was the producer/reporter types which were 
unethical. They got in their vehicle, I got in after them; and 
they took me home with nobody saying a word.

I telephoned the producer and told her what I thought of her and 
her spin-doctoring.  I finished up with:  "You lied to me!  You 
told me to assemble any memorabilia of Tonya I might have, to 
give me the impression this would be some cozy little chat.  Then 
you send this cheap-shot artist over and try to ambush me!  It's 
you, not Tonya, who is the liar!"  Then I hung up the telephone.  
It rang a few minutes later.  "Who do you think you are?" she 
shouted.  "I am a television producer!  I will not be spoken to 
in that tone of voice!"  "I'll speak to you in any tone of voice 
I choose," I told her.  "Furthermore, this conversation is over 
and you will not call me again!"  End of conversation, end of 

Even as late as the summer of 1995 I was being asked by national-
level media folks for interview situations.  But by that time, I 
was a small fish in a big pond:  Tonya had rejected me, thus I 
could not in all honesty submit to questions from journalists 
about what she was doing, et cetera.  Not that that stopped me 
from being credited with statements I never made:  during the 
autumn of 1995, the "National Enquirer" ran a Tonya story in 
which I was quoted as telling the reporter that Tonya was sad 
because Kerrigan was getting all the breaks, the money, et 
cetera.  I found out about the article in the spring of '96, 
quite by accident:  I just happened to see an old beat-up copy of 
that "National Enquirer" edition, which was folded over to the 
particular page where the article was printed.

The only problem there, is that I hadn't spoken to that reporter 
for more than one year; and I never told him anything remotely 
resembling that quote anyway!  So I wrote him (Tony Brenna, who 
also wrote for a London newspaper) and told him what I thought of 
him; and I asked the immediate past president of the Oregon State 
Bar (who was the bar's president during the media circus and with 
whom I corresponded regularly) to write Tonya and tell her I 
never said those things to the "National Enquirer."  Bill 
Wheatley, the bar association past president, held the same views 
as myself regarding how Tonya had been treated; and so he was 
happy to send the letter.  (I figured that she might not believe 
me, but she'd be likely to believe the past president of the bar 
association.)  During this particular episode, I was living at 
the Transition Projects Incorporated homeless-men's shelter in 
the "Old Town" neighborhood of northwest Portland.

Anyway, during '94 and the first two-thirds of '95, I wrote 
letters to editors and left messages on tape recorders for those 
answer-back segments of local television news programs.  One 
publication responded:  "PDXS," an alternative bi-weekly 
newspaper run by two well-respected brothers who had both 
previously worked for years in the mainstream print media (Jim 
and Bill Redden).  Bill Redden asked me, in May of '94, to write 
an article about my experiences with Tonya.  It made the cover of 
one of the June editions ("Tonya 'n Me") and was very well 
received.  Then, in December of that year ('94) Bill asked me to 
write another Tonya article about what she'd been doing since the 
bad news of January '94.  Although I hadn't seen her (except for 
three brief instances which I will write about later) for nearly 
one year, I had scored an excellent insider source who kept me 
abreast of all the goings-on.

He was a guy who'd come out here from New York (!) to try and 
befriend Tonya.  He wasn't a nut case, but was rather just a 
young guy who came to feel sorry for her and who hated the way 
the Eastern Seaboard media were treating her.  This guy, Jason F. 
Sferlazza, saw me as a martyr in Tonya's cause; and I told him 
the best way to get near Tonya was through Vonnie Reifenrath, 
Tonya's new manager (although Linda Cloud was still Tonya's 
controller).  He succeeded in thus ingratiating himself to Tonya 
and constantly reported to me all that was transpiring, most of 
it being bad news related to Tonya's domination by the 
Cloud/Lemon/Reifenrath gang.

Anyway I wrote the cover article for the first 1995 edition of 
"PDXS," in which we scooped the entire national-media corps who 
came out with like articles a few days later.  But whereas their 
articles were merely banal re-caps of already well-known media 
distortions, ours was full of news which was actually new.  
Nobody, not Cloud or Lemon or Reifenrath, ever complained to 
"PDXS."  That convinced us we'd been correct in our going out on 
a limb with confidential sources.  Many other journalists 
contacted Jim and Bill at "PDXS" and told them they thought the 
article was right on; and a few of them knew some of those things 
already but had been dissuaded from broadcasting/writing about 
them because they were apt to be viewed as mitigating 
circumstances in Tonya's favor (not what the spin doctors wanted, 
to be sure).

Apart for that, the last media stories to tell involve my civic-
group speech in Medford (State of Oregon) while I was living at 
the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Domiciliary at 
White City (Oregon); and, of course, my speech at the Humanists 
of Greater Portland forum in December of '97.  I also did, right 
after that, a lengthy radio interview for two stations' public-
affairs department and a television interview for a public-
affairs program on KPDX-TV (the Fox affiliate here).  That's 
about all the media stuff I can think of.  My own living 
situation changed several times during this entire period, but 
unless you ask me to I'll spare you those unimportant details.

Then, came you and the internet. . . .

Now, the three brief times I saw Tonya after my January 1994 
write-off. One time, during the height of the rink-side media 
circus, I saw Tonya preparing to leave the rink after her 
morning's practice sessions.  She looked right at me from inside 
the skating shop, then she came at me smiling and gave me a big 
hug -- just like she'd done every day in the "good old days."  It 
was a tight hug she gave me; and I told her I missed her.  She 
said, "I know" in that tiny voice of hers.  And she seemed teary 
as we separated and she said good-bye.  Tonya is a complicated 
person and it's hard to know just what goes on behind those 
beautiful big blue eyes!

Brief exposure number two.  After the Olympics, when Tonya 
threatened to sue the IOC for the same reasons she'd won against 
the USOC, she finally got IOC permission to go to Worlds.  As I 
was still going to the rink every day, yet keeping a respectful 
distance because I was still troubled by her communication 
blackout against me, I saw her attitude change and her spirits 
rise when she got the good news about Worlds.  She could have won 
Worlds walking away!  But rather than go to Worlds early and 
start training there, she seemed to just be hanging around 
Portland and skating.  Then, in a mysterious parting of the keep-
Joe-away curtain, I was told by one of her gate-keepers (I can't 
remember which one) that Tonya wanted me to come back to the 
skaters' area.  So I went back there; and she greeted me as if 
nothing had transpired since the night of the homecoming (from 
Nationals) news conference.

The Quinteros were, as I recall, still in the picture.  Tonya 
told me, because I straight-out asked her about access, that:  
"Really, only Stephanie and Linda and a few others are supposed 
to be back here when I'm skating.  But you can stay as long as 
you're here already."  Hmm.  Well, she was friendly enough -- 
generally speaking -- and when she left the rink that day I 
figured I'd been given a reprieve.  But when I was going home on 
the bus -- and as I rode past the Multnomah County Courthouse -- 
I noticed all those television vehicles were back in force.  I 
quickly got off the bus and went into the courthouse lobby.

There, a reporter from KPTV-TV News (Marilyn Deutcsh, who had 
been the only local journalist to keep a middle line in the Tonya 
coverage) told me that there was to be a hearing in court and 
Tonya was to appear.  She'd gone right from a pleasant morning of 
up-beat skating to her doom at the courthouse!  You are, I am 
sure, familiar with the proceedings of the court that day.  Let 
me just say that I was the only Tonyaphile in the courtroom 
(where were her precious insiders); and as she left the room, her 
eyes brimming with tears, I gave her a little wave and said to 
her:  "God bless, Tonya."  She looked at me briefly and tried to 
smile a brave little smile.

A reporter from "The Oregonian" asked me a few questions 
afterwards, yet his article the next morning stated there were no 
Tonya supporters present at the plea bargain; and there was no 
mention of me or of my quotes to him.  Several radio stations 
cornered me outside the courtroom and I said something like:  "It 
is a great tragedy that this young genius of sport has had her 
career and life ruined by mendacious criminals."  Or something 
grandiose like that.

Last exposure ever to Tonya.  On May 1, 1994, Tonya appeared at a 
big antique show in the large exhibition room of a local hotel.  
She signed either of two photographs of herself in her "most 
favorite" and sexiest red costume (during the technical program 
at the Olympics).  I borrowed the money from an associate (I was 
living in the loft at Ameriprint in Oregon City and was doing 
free lance work for the "Oregon Spectator," a turned-out-to-be-
unethical monthly publication) to purchase one of the pictures 
and stood in line for her to sign it.  She arrived through a back 
door, surrounded by a bunch of young stupid-looking guys (Lemon 
and some of his associates).  She looked like a million bucks 
with a very short, tight dress, high heels, et cetera.  After a 
few minutes of conversation with her coterie of hangers-on, she 
sat down across a table from the head of the line.  She saw me, 
said "Hello" with a dead-pan expression on her face, signed the 
photo and slid it back across the table to me; then before I 
could even say anything she turned to the next person in line. . 
. .  That's the last time I saw Tonya.





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