East Coast Rapper, West Coast Brawl: P. Diddy’s Nemesis a Harsh But Effective Taskmaster

Sean "Diddy" Combs
The Associated Press

Sal Alosi is a really good strength coach.

When he worked New York Jets players in the offseason, I heard gripes that he pushed too hard. Complaints for trainers work the same way as compliments do for other professions. Driving athletes past their comfort zones reads as part of his job description.

Puff Daddy didn’t get the memo. Good conditioning coaches, whether at LA Fitness or UCLA practices, push people hard to get them in shape.

Clearly P. Diddy didn’t like how Alosi drove his son, UCLA reserve defensive back Justin Combs, and it sounds like he acted like a Little League parent who went too far. P. Diddy, who allegedly attacked Alosi and swung a kettlebell at him Monday for yelling at his son and kicking him out of a workout, might not agree with his tactics. But Alosi gets results.

Alosi performed well as the New York Jets strength coach from 2007 to 2010. He departure from the Jets’ staff had nothing to do with his ability to squeeze the most out of athletes. In December of 2010, the former Hofstra football player let his competitive nature get the best of him, and tripped Miami Dolphins special teams player, Nolan Carroll, running down the sideline. This indiscretion essentially ended Alosi’s time with the Jets.

I attended his tear-filled presser following the incident. He apologized profusely again and again. This split-second decision likely plays as a moment in time running on a loop in the strength coach’s brain. He would undoubtedly like a do-over.

So, too, might Puff Daddy. The combination of a harsh taskmaster with one used to soft handling proved a toxic mix on Monday. Alosi does not appear, at least when I observed him covering the Jets, as one to make special exceptions. Puff Daddy, a music and marketing mogul, isn’t used to waiting in line. So, Alosi telling Diddy to wait as he finished his phone conversation and Diddy impatiently demanding that Alosi deal with his grievance immediately both appear within character for the very different men and each action seems the type of behavior that might infuriate the other.

Though a video will allegedly put the he-said/he-said nature of the controversy to rest, one need only inspect photographs of the two men to theorize why P. Diddy might have reached for the kettlebell. Alosi looks like Vin Diesel, but in better shape. Puff Daddy, who finished the New York City Marathon years ago, does not exactly resemble a slouch. But without a kettlebell he does not appear as an equal match for Alosi. Like Alosi on the Jets sideline, Puff Daddy in the UCLA facility may have let his impulses get the better of him.

The Jets tried really hard to keep Alosi after “Trip-Gate” because they valued him so much as a strength coach. But the bad PR proved just too much to overcome. The Jets fired him. After Alosi’s brief stint at Bryant University in Rhode Island, which followed other stops, UCLA head football coach Jim Mora, Jr. hired him in January 2012 as his strength and conditioning coach. Appearing in the headlines after how his Jets coaching career ended seems like the last thing Alosi wanted. But his desire to stay out of the limelight changed Monday.

Alosi works to get UCLA players in the best shape of their lives. You can’t accomplish that by acting like Caspar Milquetoast.