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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Ethics in Sports

Ethics in sports is a funny thing, and it seems that gambling seems to be the biggest fauxpae (sp?) of them all. Athletes, involved in any sports, involved in gambling seems to be an even worse offense than testing positive for steroids. Hell, gambling seems to be a worse offense in sports than murder and rape.

Take a look at the evidence. When Ray Lewis, of the Baltimore Ravens, was being accused of murder, no-one really said anything. Fans and fellow players seemed to bring him in with open arms. When Kobe Bryant was accused of raping a 19 year old girl, well... she was called a slut looking to become famous and get rich quick. No-one even questioned Kobe's innocence. I mean, these two guys are great players, so we won't let little things like murder and rape charges get in the way of them playing. Steroids can do serious damage to an athlete's health, even kill them, and it took the government to finally get base-ball to be serious about regular testing, fining, suspending and even banning players for testing positive for steroids.

But, it seems gambling will do the trick to get an athlete in a lot of trouble. Look at Pete Rose. The man deserves, as much an any-one, to be in the hall of fame. But, he has been banned because he gambled on base-ball and other sports games. He never bet against his own team, and there is no evidence that he ever did anything to purposely lose a game. I believe that he has been banned from base-ball long enough and should be put in the hall of fame. He never tested positive steroids or did anything to tarnish any of the numerous records he holds. He never took muscle enhancers or the like, a la a certain Cardinals or Padres player who shall remain nameless. His game speaks for itself, and on those merits alone, he should be in the hall of fame. If we're going to have ethics, they should be the same all across the board. If players who committ acts of violence can come back without any repercussions, then why is gambling considered the ultimate crime in sports?
Then, we have Michael Jordan, the greatest basket-ball player of all time. His great name was almost tarnished when it came out, in 1993, that he was betting on golf. But, shortly after this transgression was discovered, Jordan retired from basket-ball. Therefore, the story never really was able to pick up steam.

This takes us to today. It was discovered, allegedly, that Rick Tocchet, assistant coach for the Pheonix Coyotes, is involved in a nation wide gambling ring. It is also alleged that Wayne Gretzyky's wife is also involved, among other hockey players. Now, the NHL has no rules that forbid gambling unless it is on hockey. There are no charges that Tocchet has ever bet on hockey but mostly on football and basketball. In relation to these charges, Commissioner Bettman has banned Tocchet from having anything to do with hockey and his team until the charges are either dropped, or until he deems it OK.

This kind of hypocricy knows no bounds. During a game in the 2003 Stanley Cup playoffs,Vancouver Canucks player, Todd Bertuzzi, jumped on the back of Colorado Avalanche, Steve Moore, punched him in the back of his head, and drove him face first into the ice. Bertuzzi's huge 6 and a half foot Goliath frame caused Moore to slash up his face and break his back. What was the punishment for this disgusting diplay of recklessness? Bettman suspended him for the duration of the playoffs and from the 2004-5 season and loss of pay. Well, last season's lock-out caused Todd to miss only 4 games. However, Bettman figured that this was enough punishment and allowed Bertuzzi back for this season. What do you think? Did he get enough punishment? Moore is still recovering from his injuries and his return to hockey is extremely questionable.

Now, don't get me wrong. I think gambling is bad. I think it can easily get out of control. However, gambling is legal in the United States, so what's the big deal if anthletes are doing it? Especially, if it's not done on their own sports or team? Granted Tocchet shouldn't have gotten mixed up with the crowd he did, but that's his business, and so is it his business if he faces legal charges because of it. BUt, why should he banned from sports? Why didn't football suspend Ray Lewis when he was under indictment for murder, or Kobey for rape? Those charges aren't more severe than gambling? Apparently, not in the messed up world of sports. I just don't get it. Do you?


At 9:34 PM, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

At worst Ray Lewish was guilty of misleading police. And if he hadn't been such a public figure I doubt he would have been prosecuted.
If you want to say that about Jamal Lewis I wouldn't have a problem. But I think that Ray got a raw deal.

At 12:23 AM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

I completely understand what you're saying, but that's not the point. Tocchet hasn't been proven guilty of any wrong doing, but he's being villified simply on the accusation. That didn't happen to Ray, and that was for murder. This is gambling. I'm just trying to say that there is a difference betweem the two, but if the Sports world wants to pretend it has ethics, let them have it evenly across the board. They should stop playing the moral high ground and actually have some.

At 5:37 PM, Blogger Jessica Lovejoy said...

Hey, look at what they did to poor Pete Rose. Yes he was guilty as hell but he still deserves to be in the hall of fame. Funny how Rae Carruth actually got the death penalty for hiring a hitman to kill his pregnant girlfriend, normally they just get off...look at O.J. I guess Rae should have waited till he was more of a celebrity. (he played for the Carolina Panthers in the NFL for those who have no idea who I'm talking about). And thank for the input on "where we should move" as it turns out we are going to Virginia Beach...and I didn't even have that down as an option. who knew.

At 8:28 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

no problem. glad to be of assistance.


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