Recently the players associations of various sports leagues made the following statements regarding the pending Supreme Court decision and the possibility of legal sports betting in the United States:
“Given the pending Supreme Court decision regarding the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), representatives of the MLBPA, NBPA, NFLPA and NHLPA have been working together on the legal, commercial, practical, and human consequences of allowing sports betting to become mainstream.”
“The time has come to address not just who profits from sports gambling, but also the costs. Our unions have been discussing the potential impact of legalized gambling on players’ privacy and publicity rights, the integrity of our games and the volatility on our businesses. Betting on sports may become widely legal, but we cannot allow those who have lobbied the hardest for sports gambling to be the only ones controlling how it would be ushered into our businesses. The athletes must also have a seat at the table to ensure that players’ rights and the integrity of our games are protected.”
Some believe that this statement by the players indicates a concern that the integrity of players may be compromised by sports betting and hence the players want to be consulted on any rules and regulations that are drafted to ensure that they are not being put in a position that would make them susceptible to game fixing or putting them in a vulnerable position. But for the majority of people who viewed this statement they believe it’s just the players association saying they want their cut - if the NBA and MLB are getting a 1% integrity fee then damn it they deserve money for being honest and fair too.
I decided to speak to a very anonymous source in one of the leagues, who I’ll call D.T. and asked his opinions on the players association comments and his own personal viewpoints. While he didn’t officially say he speaks for all players the insinuation is that he is a good representation of how the majority of players feel when it comes to integrity and concern about sports betting taking place.
Me: The players association says that they will not be left out in terms of how sports betting will be ushered into the business. What exactly does that mean?
D.T: It means the free ride is over for the owners. They aren’t getting it all. We deserve our share and we are going to get it one way or another. So from now on if the owners want us to do anything it will cost them. Whether that means standing for the national anthem, hosting sponsors at events or appearing in interviews there is a price to be paid. Why should the owners get everything while we do all the work? It’s an integrity thing. We have to be true to ourselves and our integrity can be measured in greenbacks.
Me: The owners would say you get paid a good salary for doing something you love. Isn’t that enough?
D.T.: Ha! The owners are billionaires and we are but mere millionaires. Our salaries are an embarrassment. $10 million a year may sound like a lot of money, but it isn’t as much as you think. If a good player plays for 15 years he may get $100 million. And an average player maybe gets 20 million. What does that get you? After you’ve divorced your 3rd wife and paid off girlfriends there isn’t much left. And then what? Your career is over, you’re broke and you end up flipping burgers at McDonald’s or worse yet your hosting a morning talk show. To quote a person I respect “all I want is what’s coming to me. All I want is my fair share.”
Me: Wasn’t that quote from Sally from Peanuts?
D.T.: Yes we are being paid peanuts and that’s going to change. It’s an integrity thing.
Me: Aren’t you worried you’re going to disconcert fans with that attitude?
D.T.: I don’t know what disconcert means but if means they will love us more then yes. We love our fans and they love us and we’re doing this for them as much as for us. Hell, without us a lot of men would be playing board games with their wives or kids or worse yet, a dude may have to watch a chick flick with his wife. What could be worse? They should be thanking us and they can do that by sticking up for us and demanding the owners pay more from any new revenue including sports betting.
Me: So if you love your fans does that mean you’ll try and be more friendly to them such as signing more free autographs for them?
D.T.: That’s not the point. Anybody decent already charges for their signature and it’s only right. We sign a ball for them and they stick it on eBay for a hundred bucks! What about our share? But we’re also reasonable and we love our fans. So, we guarantee you that any guy who just came up from AA ball and is hitting below .100 or any hockey player that just moved up from his AHL franchise and is warming the bench will always be available to sign for free at flea markets or at the local hardware store. The big names may not be willing to sign, but fans need to be reasonable. Time is money so if they want a script from say a Tom Brady type they’d better be willing to lay out cash, whether that means paying at a sports show or buying a book. You know full well that signature will increase the price of the book by 10% so fans are getting a bargain. And we will sign the occasional autograph for a young boy if the camera is focused on us. We love our fans but we also value our Benjamins, err integrity.
Me: Earlier you mentioned you want to be paid for standing for the national anthem. Can you elaborate on that?
D.T.: If we want to stand we’ll stand. If we don’t want to stand we won’t. So if owners want to order us to do something it will cost them. We ain’t their slaves. Why should we do something we don’t want to?
Me: That seems fair provided you have a cause like other NFL players who decided to kneel to protest police brutality, but what do you have against standing for the anthem and honoring your country if you don’t have a cause.
D.T.: The national anthem is tedious. Some of these so-called singers go on forever and hearing it before every game is a nuisance. So a group of us players have gotten together and made a decision that we will only stand for the anthem if it benefits us. Starting in the next year we’re sitting for the national anthem. If the owners want us to stand and salute the flag they have to pay up.
Me: So you’re saying your decision not to stand has nothing to do with protests over police brutality, but rather to get more money.
D.T.: It’s owner brutality with our lousy salaries given how much they make and how much more they are going to make with sports betting. As I said earlier we just want the leagues to know we value our integrity, which has a cost.
Me: One last thing. Are you concerned that gambling on your sport will compromise the games and put you in a vulnerable position meaning you will be put under suspicion for every bad or questionable move that will convince some that you are cheating?
D.T.: I have no idea what you just said and if it doesn’t get us more money I don’t care. That’s what our players association is there for. But I need to stress again it’s all about integrity and we love our fans although with a fatter wallet we’ll love them more.
So, there you have it. D.T. has made it clear that players are all for sports betting provided both they and the leagues get their cut. The integrity of the games was never a concern to players or owners as most analysts suspected for decades, the players simply want to be cut into the action. Too bad the owners and players didn’t say this 10 years ago. Had they been honest, the U.S. could be like the UK or Australia; everybody benefits from wagering, including fans, who could place a bet and enjoy the action rather than being made to feel like criminals for an activity which harms no one.
Note: All characters and events in this article -- even those based on real people -- are entirely fictional. All celebrity responses are impersonated ... poorly. The previous article contains satire and due to its content it should not be considered serious news by anyone.