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I Bet You They Can Ruin Sports Even More

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via AP, File)

You can’t turn on a TV or radio without seeing some ad for a sports betting app. Some hot chick or semi-famous dude telling you all about how “the game” can be even more fun to watch if you put money on it. And your first bet is free, or given absurd odds, or they’ll just give you a chunk of cash anyway. They’re all desperate to get you to download their app because they know once you do that, they’ve got you. It’s a boom time for casinos, but it will ruin sports even more than the leftist activist athletes already have.


I don’t gamble very often. Occasionally, I will go to a casino if friends are desperate to, or whatever. But I know I’d be a problem gambler if I let myself. I know this because when I’ve gambled and I’ve been up, a voice inside my head tells me I can win even more if I keep betting. And if I’m down, that voice tells me I can win it back if I keep going. Plus, it’s just boring after a while.

If you want to gamble, I couldn’t care less. I will say one of the saddest sights anyone can see is a casino the day after Social Security checks arrive – elderly just plugging it into slot machines all night long. Anyone who wants to can get to a casino pretty easily…so do we really need another opportunity to gamble?

Ready or not, want it or not, you’ve now got more opportunities to gamble than ever before. Every sporting event is a chance to win or lose money, multiple times. Bet on kick-offs, garbage bets, prop bets, everything is now betable, depending on whether or not your state has approved it yet. If they haven’t, they will.

Again, I couldn’t care less if you want to set your money on fire, though I’d prefer you give it to me. It’s your money, knock yourself out. But what I find odd is how the professional sports leagues have embraced this.

There was a time, not that long ago, where the heads of all the pro sports leagues went to Congress to advocate against allowing gambling on sports anywhere but Vegas. Not anymore. Now they’ve partnered with various casinos of betting houses and are integrating betting into the TV coverage of the game.


My question, then, is pretty simple: Now that Major League Baseball is embracing gambling, will Pete Rose be allowed in the Hall of Fame? There’s no doubt he belongs there, the all-time hit king is only kept out because of a lifetime ban for betting on baseball. Well, now baseball wants you to bet on baseball. They want you to bet on just about every aspect of it. Why not forgive Pete and move on? 

Why not also reinstate all the suspended members of the 1919 Black Sox? Shoeless Joe Jackson deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, and he didn’t even bet or take money. Jackson simply knew about the scheme the rig the World Series and didn’t say anything. He hit .375 in the series, so it’s not like he was trying to throw it. 

Things have changed for professional sports, obviously, with the embrace of gambling, so why not start fresh by forgiving the people they’ve punished for that very sin in the past? 

Frankly, baseball could use it. There aren’t that many people eligible for the Hall of Fame who are worthy of getting in. Rather than lower the bar for enshrinement, how about widening the door a little? 

Yes, Rose bet on baseball, but at this point who cares? Baseball is betting on people wanting to bet on baseball. As is football. After a couple of years of alienating fans, they’re looking for ways to bring people back to the games. If that means embracing gambling, so be it. They’ll take the viewership of gambling addicts while running PSAs featuring gambling help lines. Maybe one of the apps will allow people to bet on which commercial break they’ll run in.


Since professional sports don’t seem interested in making the game more enjoyable to watch, just more urgent through gambling, they could at least let someone like Pete Rose be the spokesman for one of the apps. I mean, if all the professional sports leagues are going to be hypocritical frauds, they might as well embrace it. 

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