On Saturday, competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi (wearing a "Free Kobi" t-shirt) was arrested at the end of the 95th annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island after he rushed the stage in protest over a contract dispute that prevented him from competing. Meanwhile, Joey Chestnut won his fourth consecutive title, eating 54 hot dogs in 10 minutes.
According to Kobayashi, the organizers were "trying to take away my freedom." And he just wants to be free! Like a bird! A hungry bird! That eat dozens of hot dogs whenever it wants! Regardless of organizations and contracts!
But his bid for freedom left him not so free! Charged with trespassing, resisting arrest, and obstructing governmental administration, Kobayashi spent the night in jail. After being released without bail, he sounded off about how unhappy he was with the dining options, telling the New York Post: "I am very hungry! In jail, they gave me a [peanut butter and jelly] sandwich and milk. I wish they had hot dogs in jail." This all seems so very silly, is it a stunt?
Takeru Kobayashi's actions at the Hot Dog Contest in Coney Island were inappropriate and unfortunate, but it did not diminish Joey Chestnut's victory, or the holiday tradition that dates back generations. Kobayashi was a great champion and we hope that he is able to resolve his current situation and move past this.
But no! Supporters of Kobayashi (probably him and his friends?), set up a website calling for the boycott of Nathan's "until they have a rematch between Kobiyashi & Joey Chestnut." There's even a FreeKobayashi Twitter account.
And then, like clockwork (happens every year), the cranky writers come out decrying the "wastefulness" of competitive eating, and the award this year goes to Andrew M Brown at the Telegraph, who called a 95-year-old eating competition a "sign of our wasteful times."
Video: Kobayashi Arrested
· Hotdog: Ex-champ Crashes NYC Eating Contest [YouTube]
· Video Of Kobayashi Getting Arrested At The Coney Island Hot-Dog-Eating Contest [Deadspin]
· Former hot dog champ Takeru Kobayashi released from jail [NYDN]
· Freekobi.com started [EatFeats]