A Random Walk Today …

I have noted here before that I enjoy watching the “Manningcast” for Monday Night Football events.  When Peyton and Eli have a “football guest” and/or when Peyton and Eli are providing commentary on their own, I think that is a different and an interesting way to watch a football game.  I admit that some of their guests do not add to my enjoyment, but ESPN gives me the Joe Buck/Troy Aikman telecast as an easy remedy for no-account guests.

So, I was happy to read last week that ESPN and Peyton Manning’s production company, Omaha Productions, had reached an agreement to extend the “Manningcasts” through 2034.  There were 10 “Manningcasts” last year and the program won an Emmy in 2022 for “Outstanding Live Sports Series.  ESPN has television rights to more than 10 games including playoff games, but I did not find any reporting on the new contract as it applies to the number of “Manningcasts” to be aired per season.  Not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I will simply be happy to know that at least some of the alternative broadcasts will be available over the next 10 seasons.

Moving on …  The NBA playoffs have begun; it is now safe and enjoyable to watch whatever NBA game might appear on your TV screen.  The reason I say that is the clearly observable fact that all the players take all these games seriously; that is an element of competition that is clearly absent in far too many regular season NBA games.  That is the good news for the NBA as it is now in a position to take over the spotlight of the sports world for the next couple of months.

The bad news for the NBA is that there is another gambling scandal – – and it must be a lot more than rumors/allegations.  The NBA announced a lifetime ban for Toronto Raptors’ forward, Jontay Porter, based on:

“… disclosing confidential information to sports bettors, limiting his own participation in one or more games for betting purposes and betting on NBA games.”

I think we can all agree that those behaviors represent a trifecta of wrongdoing on the part of Jontay Porter.  The fact that there has not been an outcry of protest from the NBPA speaks directly to the quality of the evidence available.  Here is a link to an excellent report at CBSSports.com that lays out the findings of an NBA investigation and how that investigation began.

Note that once again the existence of legalized sports gambling plays a dual role in this mess.

  1. The fact that sports wagering is so widespread and so easily available to just about anyone and everyone provides the means to put temptation in front of athletes and officials.
  2. The fact that legalized sports betting enterprises have a vested interest in not being scammed makes those entities efficient and effective sentries on the lookout for folks who might be using “improper means” to beat the books.

This is the second “betting scandal” for the NBA in the last 20 years; I need not go into the details of the Tim Donaghy mess again; Wikipedia can do that for you if you need your memory refreshed.  And in that case like the current matter, the NBA is not the organization/entity that discovered the wrongdoing.  Back then it was the FBI who ran across information that the FBI then informed the NBA about that led to the discovery that an official was betting on games including ones that he would be officiating.

Two scandals in 20 years might be written off as sufficiently infrequent as to be only of minor concern.  I think that would be a bad stance for the NBA to assume; I think the much more important lesson for Adam Silver and his cohorts to learn here is that their “investigative and enforcement” people need to step up their game significantly.

Next up …  Recall after the Spanish Women’s Soccer Team won the Women’s World Cup a couple of years ago, the head of the Spanish Soccer Federation, Luis Rubiales, ran onto the pitch and kissed one of the players, Jenni Hermoso, on the lips.  He says it was part of the excitement of the moment’; she says it was a sexual assault because it was unwanted and uninvited. Rubiales was forced to resign his position with the Spanish Soccer Federation and is now facing legal charges in the matter.

According to a BBC report, a Spanish prosecutor has brought charges against Rubiales of one count of sexual assault and one count of coercion because of that encounter.  According to that report, the sexual assault charge would levy a 1-year prison sentence on Rubiales and the coercion charge would being an 18-month sentence according to Spanish Law.  I need to tread lightly here …

  • What Rubiales did was inappropriate.  There needs to be some degree of sanction for his improper and inexcusable behavior.
  • Court documents allege that other Spanish Soccer officials tried to convince Ms. Hermoso to say that the kiss was unexpected but nothing more than that.  If those allegations are correct, those officials are at least as guilty of inappropriate behavior as is Rubiales.
  • And having said all that, I am not convinced that a kiss is sexual assault unless having me believe that it is the same thing as fondling or rape is the intent of these charges – – and I hope that is not the case because that would trivialize to some degree things I believe are actual sexual assaults which are far worse than an unwarranted kiss.

I don’t know what an ideal outcome might be in this matter.  Rubiales did something wrong and needs to atone for it and pay for it.  I do not think he should go to jail for two-and-a-half years, nor do I think he should be considered to reside in the same category as rapists.  I am glad I am not the judge in this matter.

Finally, consider this observation by my favorite curmudgeon, H. L. Mencken:

“Every man is thoroughly happy twice in his life: just after he has met his first love and just after he has left his last one.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



2 thoughts on “A Random Walk Today …”

  1. You presume the NBA WANTS to find out they have betting scandals. They just hope these guys vanish.

    Who said there is no such thing as bad publicity?

    Rubiales lost his job. That’s plenty. He was wrong, but jail?

    1. Ed:

      I think the NBA – – or any major pro league – – does want to find ways to prevent betting scandals. I just don’t think any of them are particularly good at that.

      I too think jail time for Rubiales is over-reach. Don’t know what a Spanish court might decide however.

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