From an NFL player alleged to be so cruel to dogs it should make you cringe, to an NBA referee who went on a sports betting binge, to a Tour de France rider with a syringe, it’s been an interesting few months in the world of sports and sports betting.
To be sure, this stuff matters to both sports bettors and online sportsbooks. Gamblers who bet on the Falcons in a myriad of different future books with their sportsbooks face the realization that their team probably will have to win without quarterback, Michael Vick, who was charged with a federal indictment on dog fighting and dog gambling.
Just how many NBA games were tainted due to the actions of referee Tim Donaghy remains unclear to all those except Tony Soprano.
And if you wagered with your favorite sportsbook on which rider would win the Tour de France, you can rip up your tickets on 5/2 favorite Alexandre Vinokourov and overall leader Michael Rasmussen, 60/1, each of whom was bounced from the event for substance abuse violations.
If there is a silver lining to these abuses it is that these sordid revelations have inspired journalists, athletes, administrators and just plain ordinary folks to be witty, innovative, humorous and, in some cases, just plain silly.
See for yourself.
“Now, granted he (Michael Vick) might have been to a dogfight a time or two, maybe five times, maybe 20 times, may have bet some money, but he’s not the one you’re after. He’s just the one who’s going to take the fall.”
–Former Cowboys great Emmitt Smith, offering his view on the Vick allegations
“If O.J. (Simpson) get can get away with murder, Michael Vick can get away with a few hurt dogs.”
–Maal Clayton, who identified himself as a graduate of the same high school as Vick
“Had the weirdest dream last night. Dreamt that Pacman Jones was bitten by Michael Vick’s dog while trying to steal Tank Johnson’s gun.”
–Greg Cote, the Miami Herald
“Greed is still central to the human condition and legalized gambling now is as close as the corner store or the nearest computer. Our growing cultural tolerance for games of chance has effectively blurred the boundaries separating entertainment from vice and avocation from addiction. In an age when professional sports franchises freely forge sponsorship deals with casinos, and team logos appear on state lottery tickets, it does not require much of a logical leap to wonder whether the games those teams play are completely above board.
“To describe Tim Donaghy as an isolated case, then, is optimism bordering on naivete.”
–Tim Sullivan, The San Diego Union-Tribune
“By trying to sneak doping practices past cycling officials, the riders are playing Russian roulette.”
–Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France after Vinokorouv and Rasmussen were eliminated from the race. For the record, neither Vinokorouv (Kazakhstan) nor Rasmussen (Denmark), are from Russia.
Speaking of syringes:
“He’s a little midget man who absolutely knows jack shit about baseball, who never played the game before.”
–SF slugger Barry Bonds, after broadcaster Bob Costas raised suspicions that Bonds had used steroids
“As anyone can plainly see, I’m 5-6 1/2 and a strapping 150, and unlike some people, I came by all of it naturally. I regard Barry as one of the greatest players of all time who got an inauthentic boost and then became a superhuman player.”
–Costas, answering Bonds
“How do you know?”
Bonds, demonstrating why you should never argue with people who buy ink by the barrel, responding to Costas saying that he came by his physique naturally.
“On at least three occasions (in strip clubs), fights have broken out with other patrons and employees, and on two of those occasions the end result has been gunfire. All I know is what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas, sometimes for several years in a prison cell.”
–Scott Ostler, the San Francisco Chronicle, on the possible fate of Titans cornerback Pacman Jones
“The weirdest part is probably that they were back-to-back-to back. I mean, there was a distinct time between all of them but there wasn’t a musician thrown in there.”
–Actress Alyssa Milano, telling SI.com about her one-time dating rotation of pitchers Carl Pavano, Barry Zito and Brad Penny