Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Gambling Addiction Not Taken As Serious As Others

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball
Allan H. (Bud) Selig, Commissioner
245 Park Avenue, 31st Floor
New York, NY 10167
(212) 931-3800

Dear Mr. Commissioner:

Okay. I’m through page 45 of the report. Thus far, I’ve uncovered significant evidence of Pete Rose gambling extensively and lying about it in his deposition. It’s unclear to me what sports he’s betting on; it’s also irrelevant. What I do find important is that Pete Rose clearly has/had a gambling problem. Assuming that statement -- he was allegedly at one point $200,00-400,000 in debt to various bookies -- is true, why are we continuing to punish him for this disease when we make so many grander efforts with other afflictions everywhere, every day in our society?

Yes. I still have a lot more reading to do. I’ve not yet read anything Rose himself has published. I do know this, though. When substance-abuse users, for example, get themselves into trouble, we take steps to get them help and put them right back on the job, unless of course their punishments dictate suspension. Why is gambling different? If Pete Rose had a problem with gambling, why can we not make an effort, or at least show that we tried, to get him the help that he needs?

Perhaps these points are all moot now that Rose is in his 60s and not necessarily affiliated with the game anymore. I still think it’s important, though, to recognize the good things he accomplished on the field. As I’ve said before, other players have had issues, whether they’ve been forced to face them or not. And they get the praise and the accolades.

The guy that holds the record for the most important offensive stat in baseball, however, is still on the outside. Why, I ask you, can we not unlock the gate, and take the first step to letting him back in?

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