Alex Rodriguez: No Way Does A-Rod Deserve Suspension or Ban For Poker
It's hard to feel sorry for a guy that once signed a baseball contract for one-quarter of a billion dollars, but I'm starting to harbor some sympathy for poor old A-Rod and this latest story that Major League Baseball is investigating him for poker cemented it.
Rodriguez has been crushed in the media for just about everything from "not being a true Yankee" to having his girlfriend feed him popcorn, but I don't see anyway that these claims of illegal poker playing prove to be his undoing.
ESPN.com reports indicate that MLB is taking "this very seriously and have been investigating this matter since the initial allegation....As part of the investigation, the commissioner's office will interview Mr. Rodriguez."
Certainly all the facts aren't yet in and A-Rod is fairly stupid for putting himself in this situation--when you're worth that much, you're an instantly recognizable face, and have dated Cameron Diaz and Madonna, you've got to know better than do anything sketch--but I just don't see anyway the league bans or even suspends him.
I know that any association with gambling is a cardinal sin in sports, especially MLB (thanks Shoeless Joe and the 1919 Black Sox), and according to the ESPN article, he had already been warned once by the Yankees and MLB back in 2005, but this is not the type of transgression that should ruin a career.
But let's be fair, these aren't allegations that he was gambling on baseball or any sport. He was playing poker, which would have been perfectly legal had he done it in a casino in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. Michael Vick fighting dogs or Ben Roethlisberger allegedly sexually assaulting a woman isn't legal anywhere.
Fine him, call him into Bud Selig's office for a reaming, even threaten him with a suspension the next time, but to ban or suspend him is an overreaction to something thousands of Americans do every Friday night. And make no mistake about it, either $10 buy-in poker in someone's basement is illegal or it isn't--the fact that millions of dollars were allegedly on the table at these events A-Rod was at doesn't shouldn't factor into the argument.
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