Chestnut consumed a mind-bending 71 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes to take home the Mustard Belt and etch his name into sports history as one of only two men in any sport to win an event 12 times. (Rafael Nadal, who won the French Open a dozen times, is the other.)
I love ESPN’s production of Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Competition. Announcer just said, “Can Joey Chestnut eclipse Bill Russell today?” ? pic.twitter.com/v28e32TtPo
— Miles Custis (@MilesCustis) July 4, 2019
For an appetizer, Chestnut chewed up his critics.
NBC Sports professional football haver of opinions Peter King decided not to stay in his lane, tut-tutting the hog dog eating contest — specifically, an ESPN documentary on the rivalry between Chesnut and longtime champ Takeru Kobayashi — and stomping on other people’s good time Tuesday.
ESPN and the @30for30 franchise has done some really great docs and journalism.
A shame that as at least a fifth of children in America go to bed hungry nightly they’re highlighting gluttony, treating someone who overeats excessively as a “competitive athlete.” Truly disgusting.
— Peter King (@peter_king) July 3, 2019
Never mind that, as Darren Rovell quickly pointed out, Nathan’s Famous donates 100,000 hot dogs to food banks every July 4.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 3, 2019
According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, the average American eats 70 hot dogs per year, so 100,000 would be enough to feed 1,428 people for an entire year — a typical crowd at a Tampa Bay Rays or Miami Marlins game. And considering Chestnut ate 71 hot dogs, he literally ate more hot dogs in 10 minutes than most people will eat between today and the next time Chestnut sits down to compete at the Fourth of July contest.
TMZ Sports caught up with Chestnut on Wednesday before the event and asked him about King’s comments.
“I think Peter King, he’s kind of narrow-minded,” Chestnut said, and under the circumstances, that’s probably being diplomatic.
The competitive eater not only slammed King for his uninformed take but also pointed out that once you start down that slope, everything is fair game.
“He’s picking low hanging fruit. It’s easy to criticize something,” Chesnut said. “I think he could easily criticize NASCAR for greenhouse gas emissions.
“It’s just kind of absurd. The amount of food we’re eating is very, very small.”
Nathan’s cooks up 1,700 hot dogs for the competition. That may sound like a lot, but it’s far fewer than get cooked and eaten at your typical MLB game, where the average nightly crowd eats 7,819 hot dogs.
Is Major League Baseball “wasteful” for having people eat that many hot dogs, or is it just the competitive eating circuit, which as part of its mission donates literal tons of food to feed hungry kids nationwide?
What’s more, where is King getting that “a fifth of kids go hungry” stat from? A quick Google search reveals as its top result a story that says “1 in 5 kids face hunger at some point during the year,” which is a horrifying figure, but it’s a far cry from one child in five “going to bed hungry nightly.”
Maybe Peter King needs to stick to talking about football, where he can praise NFL linemen for putting on bulk without moralizing about anyone going hungry because of beefy football players.
As for Chestnut, he has written his name in mustard on hot dog history. Now he just needs to come back next year and take sole possession of that individual championships record.
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