Interesting new angles on the Vick dogfighting story are becoming harder to find, but last night I read something, somewhere that suggested Vick's biggest problem with the league could be the connection between the alleged dogfighting and the gambling that occurred at those events. The thinking is that Goodell couldn't come down hard on Vick for the primary issue, since the new personal conduct policy is really meant to apply only to repeat offenders, but that the gambling thing is something he could be all over.
This writer -- whose name or location I now can't remember at all -- even went so far as to suggest that Vick's now known ties to gambling activities call into question his well-documented inconsistency on the field. It seemed like a bit of a stretch, but this morning I just read this:
Reports: FBI probes allegations NBA ref bet on games he worked
The FBI is reportedly investigating an NBA referee who was allegedly betting on basketball games, including games he worked in the past two seasons.
The New York Post first reported Friday that the year-long investigation is focusing on allegations that the referee bet on games and was making calls that affected the point spread on games. The newspaper reported that according to sources, an arrest of the referee was imminent and that NBA Commissioner David Stern is aware of the investigation.
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Wouldn't it be just like David Stern to suspend a referee (say Joey Crawford) for a seemingly minor offense (perhaps a vendetta against one of the league's best players) in order to cover up the fact that he was actually suspending him due to a far more serious investigation?
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Sometimes I wonder a bit about the newfound "polite" status of gambling in our society. Obviously, I don't have a problem with gambling, as any number of friends, blackjack dealers and hapless tourists could attest. But I'm also of the opinion that these things are better when they're kept in the box. Casinos in Atlantic City? Fine. Casinos in Philadelphia? Not so much.
That ship has sailed, however. Gambling is everywhere now. And it's starting to get awfully close to the sports world, with ESPN showing so much card-playing programming that the "P" might as well stand for poker.
On the one hand, players make so much money these days that it's hard to see how something like the Black Sox scandal could be repeated. On the other hand, gambling has become so pervasive and so accepted that I'm not sure the lines are as bright or as clear as they used to be. That could be a problem.
The question would then be: is it a strike zone problem (fixed before things really got out of hand) or a steroids problem (permanent damage done)?