For Pete’s Sake, Get Over It!
Let Pete Rose up.
In case you missed the shocking news earlier this week, ESPN found out that Pete bet on baseball when he was a player back in 1986. There are the scribblings of a bookie to prove it.
That’s not all. Pete lied. Talk about shocking.
And now each and every American has to ask him/herself, “Should Pete Rose be in the Hall of Fame?”
Prior to the latest revelations, Pete seemed to be getting closer to induction. He had served his 25-year sentence for admitting to gambling as a manager and was hoping new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred would reinstate him.
The consensus now is that he’ll never see his plaque in Cooperstown.
What would be so difficult about maintaining the lifetime ban for gambling, putting Rose in the Hall and including the information about his lifetime ban on his plaque?
Wouldn’t reminding future players that a Hall of Famer, who had more hits than every player in history, was banned for life act as an eternal deterrent?
And, by the way, the lifetime ban from working in Major League Baseball shouldn’t be lifted. That doesn’t mean that Rose should be banned from appearing at the All Star Game in Cincinnati next month. The All Star Game is for the fans and they want Rose there.
As long as MLB threatens current players with a lifetime ban it can’t show Rose any leniency because of the message it would send.
But, does the gambling penalty fit the crime?
In 1963, Paul Hornung of the Green Bay Packers, who was NFL Most Valuable Player in 1961, and Alex Karras, an all-pro defensive tackle with the Detroit Lions, were caught betting on NFL games.
They were suspended for the 1964 season. Hornung was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Both players were predictably contrite after they were caught and that played a major role in their quick reinstatement, but, a couple of years ago, Hornung said this: “You know what, looking back it just pisses you off. I knew 10 other guys who bet. They didn’t get them all in my day.”
Hornung and Karras were caught betting on NFL games that didn’t involve their teams.
Rose admitted to betting on the Reds when he was their manager. Really, why is that a big deal?
There’s a big leap from betting on your team to win and betting on your team to lose and doing your best to make it happen.
If a player, who’s making $25,000 to $50,000 a game, is feeling good about his team, why shouldn’t he be allowed to call his buddy in Las Vegas and tell him to bet a game check for him?
Why shouldn’t an NFL player making millions of dollars be allowed to go to Vegas before the season and bet on his team to win the Super Bowl?
I’ll bet it happens a lot.
The Supreme Court has been pretty busy lately, but maybe one of these days it can get around to making sports betting legal in every state.
With all the money being paid to the top professional athletes these days, would you be shocked to find out that they make side bets with each other every now and then?
Would you be shocked to find out that big money makers on the PGA tour, who find themselves out of contention on Sunday morning, are betting thousands of dollars among themselves to keep it interesting?
Why would anybody care?
Let players, coaches and owners bet as long as they’re not betting against their teams. How would you be sure that they aren’t?
Just as you aren’t now.
Pittsburgh ex-TV sportscaster, columnist and talk show host John Steigerwald is the author of the Pittsburgh sports memoir, “Just Watch The Game.” Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast at pittsburghpodcastnetwork.com