Sunday, July 04, 2004

Bettis & gambling

The whole Jerome Bettis and his involvement with gambling (horse racing and slots casino) is being blown out of proportion -- and the Post-Gazette's Ron Cook says as much (only being much more dramatic though). Here's the thing, Bettis claims that his interest is only with the real estate aspects associated with the new project and has nothing to do with the gambling. Of course the NFL has strict rules against players being associated with gambling in any way, and that's why they're so interested in all of this.

But then things get a little murky, as Cook points out:
It allows, for instance, the Rooney family to own dog- and harness-racing tracks as well as the Steelers. The justification is that Dan Rooney and his son, Art II, don't have anything to do with the tracks, and the family members who operate the tracks don't have to anything to do with the Steelers.
Hmmm. So maybe what Bettis should do is get his mom to run the real estate deals and then he would be blameless. Somehow I doubt that would solve anything, but it does make you wonder why it's OK for some and not for others.

I think Cook is right again when he offers how the NFL should reach a solution:
He is expected to meet with Jeff Pash, the league's chief legal officer, and perhaps even commissioner Paul Tagliabue this week. They need to give him a public reprimand and tell him he has to sever all business ties with Betters. If he refuses, they should suspend him until he does.
(In the spirit of hyperbole, Cook's first sentence to this paragraph read -- oddly enough -- "That's why NFL officials need to deal with Bettis harshly." This, I can only imagine, is to grab the reader's attention, because it in no ways segues with the rest of the paragraph, and that's why I initially left it out)I think the NFL has to make it clear that gambling (or being associated with gambling) is not acceptable and they have to take a hard line. But I also think that if Bettis wants to enlist a family member to take over his real estate dealings, that should be OK too. Either way, I don't think it's as big a deal as the media is making it out to be and this would probably be back page news if training camp had already started.