TORONTO - Angelo Mosca is still hurting over that now legendary scrap he had with fellow septuagenarian Joe Kapp last Friday during the Grey Cup celebrations in Vancouver.
But it’s not the physical pain that’s kept the CFL legend hidden away in his St. Catharines home.
Mosca, 73, said he’s had a difficult time emotionally dealing with what went down five days ago at a CFL Alumni Association luncheon which was held, appropriately enough, at an Armory.
“I’ve had an empty feeling, a very empty feeling,” the former Hamilton Tiger-Cats lineman said over the phone. “It’s been really tough. I’ve just been staying at home watching TV, not going out in public.
“I’m just getting over this,” he added. “I’ve had a helluva couple of days.”
The run-in between the former CFL greats has become one of the most-watched bits on YouTube. It’s also become a great source of embarrassment and distress to both parties. Kapp, also 73, told the Vancouver Province that he was sorry for his part in the scrap, but insisted that he was only defending himself. But Mosca said Kapp arrived at the function, which was to raise money for disadvantaged CFL alumni, with an axe to grind.
“I walked into the place and greeted him and said: ‘Hey Joe, baby, what’s happening?’ And he said: ‘Go f--- yourself!’ And I said: ‘Oh my gosh, there’s something wrong with this guy,’” said Mosca.
But Kapp told the Province that Mosca was “mouthing obscene statements” to him before the pair took the stage. Mosca denied that and believes that Kapp, the only player to quarterback in the Grey Cup, Super Bowl and Rose Bowl, has “something wrong with him.” Mosca said he noticed something amiss before their altercation.
“He was sitting at the same table as me and he kept mumbling and mumbling,” said Mosca. “I was like: ‘What is this guy’s act?’ I couldn’t figure him out. I didn’t think he was coherent, really.”
The dust-up began when Kapp tried to hand Mosca some flowers. Mosca, who said he was still sore over Kapp insulting him earlier, told him to “stick it up your ass.” When Kapp tried to shove the flowers in Mosca’s face and hit him on the arm with the small bouquet, Mosca stood up and knocked Kapp’s glasses off with his cane. Kapp then advanced on Mosca and decked him with a right hook.
Kapp later admitted to the crowd after that he still held a grudge over a late hit the bruising Mosca laid on the Lions’ Willie Fleming at the 1963 Grey Cup at Vancouver’s Empire Stadium, which proved to be a pivotal play in Hamilton’s 21-10 victory.
Almost as alarming as the actual confrontation was Kapp’s ramblings afterwards on the dais, particularly when he told the audience that he talked to Fleming before coming to Vancouver and asked his old teammate what he should say on his behalf.
“He said: ‘Just tell the people, I named my dog Angelo and I kick the (crap) out of that dog every day,’” Kapp said.
That left some in the crowd, and Mosca, stunned.
“It was totally insulting,” Mosca said. “But at least I got up and apologized to the people. We were there to help the needy guys and that’s what I’m all about. I wasn’t there for any other reason.
“We need help from the alumni and we’re not getting the proper help. We’re getting mediocre help.”
Mosca, who recently coauthored a book with Steve Milton called Tell Me To My Face (and denied that the incident was staged to boost book sales), said his spirits have been buoyed the last few days thanks to the support of his wife and a great many phone calls he’s received.
“I still can’t believe it happened. I’ve never been associated with such a deal in all these years,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of things in my lifetime and I think I hold a lot of respect for what I’ve tried to do. And obviously I haven’t lost (the respect) because a lot of people have called me and said nice things about me.
“Sure, a lot of guys hated me when I played,” Mosca added. “I was a hard-nosed guy. I asked for nothing and gave nothing. But after the game was over, I’d shake your hand.”