Sam Rosen deserved better than this sports gambling nonsense

More from:

Phil Mushnick

Insanity is becoming a troublesome sports norm

Mike Francesa's Twitter nemesis is now calling out Colin Cowherd

NFL can't stop giving you reasons to turn it off

Football is destroying itself

Gary Sanchez's benching gall is perfect way to head into 2021

Gambling, Part 1: Some folks just don’t fit. No matter how hard you push them or even hammer them, they don’t naturally fit the space they’ve been assigned. Sam Rosen, for example.

Thursday, after the Islanders took a 2-0 lead over the Rangers in their opener, MSG went to commercials, including one pitching DraftKings and your chance to bet $1 dollar to win $100.

“Life’s more fun,” the narrator claimed, “with skin in the game.” And it’s especially fun for those who will pocket their cut of the losses, as that’s what this “fun” is predicated upon.

Back to the Garden, where Rosen, apparently ordered to enter without his dignity, was forced to bang away some more in pursuit of more suckers.

Over a DraftKings graphic encouraging viewers to “Place Your Bets Now,” Rosen was stuck reading ad copy about how one could still win money betting this game. Rosen:

“Here are the DraftKings live odds. Download the top-rated DraftKings app and bet live during the game. Plus, for the first two games of the season, when you place a $25 bet on any hockey game, you get a free $10 bet.”

Not for a second would anyone who has experienced Rosen’s straight-arrow approach since he began calling MSG’s Rangers games in 1984 believe he personally endorses in-game gambling on hockey, or any other kind of sports gambling.

He deserves better. But at 73, Rosen must remain a company man, and if that now includes being a gambling shill, so be it. It doesn’t matter if he takes his orders from Gary Bettman — pronounced “Bet, man!” — or Jimmy Dolan, who has fought substance addictions, Rosen doesn’t fit the role of a bad-odds cash hustler.

I’d never put Rosen on the spot to ask him to defend himself. That would be unfair. So many other sportscasters have been forced to join the work force of this now legal form of dangerous, contagious get-rich-quick hucksterism.

But it’s a pity that someone as upstanding and as embracing as Sam Rosen has been forced to capitulate. We can practically surmise that he’d prefer to have no part of it.

Or can we envision him placing a $400 parlay bet via “Promo Code Evan”?

But money, by any and all means, continues to turn our sports into unfiltered, shiny garbage, so let it rain! And while in the sportsbook, don’t forget to turn your ball cap backwards. Show them they hit their target!

Gambling, Part 2: If there’s not a pro or college game or match being fixed or shaved as you read this, I’d be flabbergasted. Three reasons:

A) There are now so many places that take action — domestic and international — that spreading it around among scores of sportsbooks rather than a few in Nevada helps fixers avoid detection. You can no longer easily track the gambling handle on any particular team or match.

B) With so many places to bet, the betting lines won’t greatly shift to reflect a money trail. Lines may move a point due to volume, if at all, but that’s all. What would it take to spread 80 grand around with a dozen bookmakers? The days of the FBI or a league investigator spotting a suspiciously big swing in action may be over.

C) With so many more sports gambling operations, detection has already become prohibitively expensive because there are so many more rocks to look under. No league is going to hire a police force or large detective agency.

Thus, the fixes are in or they’re coming.

Gambling, Part 3: In early June — as riots, looting and arson nightly attacked our good senses — ESPN, which doesn’t own NHL rights and therefore mostly ignores hockey, was looking for a black NHL player to interview about oppression and racism.

In Evander Kane, who had signed a $49 million contract with the Sharks the season before, they found their man.

Kane offered no specifics about the discrimination he claimed to suffer, but it was clear ESPN was unaware — or didn’t care — that Kane was neither a pillar of social integrity nor any good at choosing right over wrong.

Kane’s bio at that point: In 2014 he was sued for assault in Vancouver. With the Sabres in 2016, he was arrested for his part in a Buffalo bar brawl, allegedly grabbing an unarmed woman by the throat and trying to force her into a car. In the same incident, read the police report, Kane allegedly manhandled another woman.

He copped to a six-month adjournment “in contemplation of dismissal,” a good behavior pledge. He caught a lucky judicial break.

Additionally, he had hassles with his team, including a suspension for missing practice after attending an NBA All-Star Game.

And in 2019 he was sued for non-payment of $500,000 in gambling markers compiled while in Las Vegas, where his Sharks were in a playoff series against the Golden Knights. The suit was later quietly dropped.

Later in 2019, he was suspended for three games for “abuse of game officials.”

None of that came up. But ESPN landed what it wished for: a black NHL player who claimed he was the victim of racism.

On Monday, Kane, who has a 7-month-old daughter, filed for bankruptcy, listing $26.8 million in debts, $1.5 million of it to one Vegas casino. So ESPN’s rink racism report was nonsense. Kane was less a victim of racism than of himself. And gambling, not race, played a greater role.

New D technique: tackling

Last Saturday’s Colts-Bills game on CBS should be used by coaches to teach how good tackling — seen throughout the game — prevents ball carriers from breaking free for long gains after pinballing clear of attempted monster shots, those designed to maim.

There was not one long gain off a bad, vicious attempt to tackle. And a crisply played, interesting, clean and entertaining game included only four penalties — all 5-yarders. It looked like a sport.

Punch & out? Wow. That’s it, just wow.

Early in the third quarter last Sunday, Bears receiver Anthony Miller, with the Saints up, 7-3, in a playoff game, was ejected for throwing a punch. The reaction from CBS’s Jim Nantz and Tony Romo was muted, though Nantz managed a, “Wow.” That was it, just, “Wow.” Guess they’d rather insult us than Miller.

The Nets last week wore their fifth different uniform in 11 games. Way to serve the new, Made In Ka-Ching tradition!

Prop Bets: Which playoff telecast Sunday will include the loudest fake crowd noise?

After 14 years at CBS, Bill Cowher has been upgraded from Coach Cowher to Business Class Cowher.

Share this article:

Source: Read Full Article