A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from November 27, 2011
“If you can’t beat ‘em, beat ‘em up” (hockey adage)

"If you can’t beat them, join them” is a proverb that was popular in the early 20th century. A hockey variant (showing hockey’s violence) is, “if you can’t beat them, beat them up.” Syndicated Los Angeles (CA) Times sportswriter Jim Murray wrote “if you can’t beat ‘em, beat ‘em up” in May 1976, referring to hockey’s Philadelphia Flyers (then known as the “Broad Street Bullies” for the Flyers’ physical play).

Other sayings about hockey violence include “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out” and “Give blood—play hockey.”

Wiktionary: if you can’t beat them, join them
if you can’t beat them, join them

1.If your adversaries are stronger than yourself, it is better to join the adversaries.

29 May 1976, Omaha (NE) World-Herald, Jim Murray column from the Los Angeles Times, pg. 15, col. 1:
The Philadelphia Flyers, you see, had infected a whole sport, maybe a whole fabric of sport. Their initial philosophy seemed to be “if you can’t beat ‘em, beat ‘em up.”

Google Books
Best Sports Stories
By Dave Sloan
St. Louis, MO: The Sporting News Pub.
Pg. 164:
“If you can’t beat ‘em, beat ‘em up,” was the unofficial motto of the Bulls, and the mill workers of Magic City adopted them as their own.
(Birmingham Bulls of the WHA—ed.)

9 February 1990, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “South Coast League Girls’ Basketball” by Donna Carter, pg.C10:
Capistrano Valley, which seemed to have adopted the motto, ‘If you can’t beat ‘ em, beat ‘em up,’ was hurt by foul trouble early.

Wheeling (WV) News-Register
When Push Comes To Shove, Nailers Respond
March 14, 2008
Part of the frustration surrounding the Wheeling Nailers’ tough-to-swallow season has been, at times, a perceived lack of effort or enthusiasm. You know the old hockey adage: If you can’t beat ’em, beat ’em up.

Times & Transcript (Moncton, New Brunswick)
If you can’t beat ‘em, beat ‘em up?
Published Tuesday January 26th, 2010
By Alan Cochrane
As a hockey parent, I was absolutely shocked and sickened to watch the video replay of Mikael Tam lying on the ice, his body convulsing uncontrollably as his friends tried to help him, after a high-speed sucker punch to the head by Patrice Cormier.

Every year, there seems to be some kind of incident that sets the hockey world into the debate over violence.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • (1) Comments • Sunday, November 27, 2011 • Permalink