Column: Pete Rose--A View from the Capital of Gambling

Mr. Thompson, Professor of Public Administration, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is the author of Gambling in America: An Encyclopedia. He is a columnist for HNN.

I have no magic answers for the Pete Rose controversy, I have an opinion. Let sportswriters vote on whether Rose joins Hall of Fame, but keep him off the field pending an intense investigation of his gambling, the sufficiency of his contrition, and reform.

When writers vote, they can consider anything including the severity of Rose's offenses compared with the drug addicts, alcoholics and wife beaters they have voted into the Hall. They can consider other athletes in other Halls--the murderer, name not mentioned, the football players, one a hero of Lombardi's Packers, who bet on football. They can balance sins and performances. Also they may consider if Rose's behavior--for which he is responsible--was the product of disease.

Writers did not hold Lou Gehrig's sub-par playing against him toward the end of his career, because the play was affected by disease. To do so would have been cruel and absolutely unfair, yet he knowingly played while impaired. Writers can consider if it's unfair to impose a life sentence on an alcoholic or drug user.

In Las Vegas we are aware that reckless gambling can be the product of a flawed individual, but the individual could also be sick. And if the individual constantly lies about gambling, that is a sign of sickness.

Baseball executives can then study Rose's behavior and efforts at reform before he can coach again. They can consider if his betting affected outcomes of games. They can look at things like rotations of pitchers. Rose may have talked to other managers about games, they can follow up on this and ask why the managers did not come forth long ago. They can check to see if Rose used information to be a winner. His reputation was that of a loser.

The executives have it easy, baseball wagering is win-lose betting--there are no point spreads, Rose couldn't be involved in point shaving.

Regarding point spread sports, questions could be asked about the top basketball player of our time. Baseball leaders knew that Michael Jordan was an excessive--and maybe compulsive gambler. He was out of control. He bet millions on golf and he had heavy betting debts--something that Rose may not have had. Did Jordan 's betting involve basketball--or baseball? Did his betting buddies wager on these games? Was this known or just totally ignored when baseball welcomed him into the White Sox organization. .

We don't have to like Pete Rose. While I might vote in favor of his joining the Hall of Fame based upon his hustling style of play and his records, the vote would not be enthusiastic as Rose was a mean player who willingly hurt others on the field, but I say leave it to sportswriters. Baseball executives can determine when he is ready to coach again, or maybe Michael Jordan can get him a job in basketball.


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Play Cash Bingo Online - 1/20/2004

Hi there
You have some very interesting comments. I feel gambling is something a person has to realize what it offers them. To many people gamble as a form of crutch to shadow another problem situation in there life.
If you know what you enjoy about gambling then you should have no problems gambling.
Thats my opinion

Stephen B.">

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Nemo - 1/16/2004

Thompson wrote:

"Writers did not hold Lou Gehrig's sub-par playing against him toward the end of his career, because the play was affected by disease. To do so would have been cruel and absolutely unfair, yet he knowingly played while impaired"

Hardly. See Gehrig's stats at:

His illness was apparently affecting his play in 1938, his last full year, as he "only" hit .295 instead of his usual Olympian average in the mid-.300s. Still, it probably just appeared to him that he was having a tough year and getting older. And he only played 8 games at the beginning of 1939. He was terrible by then, but 8 games aren't going to do much to lifetime stats. No, Gehrig was not cut any slack at all in making it to the Hall, his career entitled him to it.

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