Guest Blog Entry
Anyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following entry earlier today.
Re: Operation Slapshot. The bottom line on the whole thing is who cares, don't we all do illegal gambling of some sort? From office pools, to bets with friends & so on. If it would be some one else besides Wayne Gretzky do you think we would really even be talking about this? This too shall pass. Whether Gretzky is innocent or guilty, the game will go on. Fans of the game will not stop being fans because Gretzky was (maybe) gambling on games? We returned to the arenas after the lock-out because we love the game and wanted to see pro hockey played at its best level and we still will. There's been blackeyes given in all pro sports. Pete Rose & his gambling, Several NBA players assaulting fans in the past few years....... Pro football & basketball players accused of (expletive)..... There's a list, and sports fans will continue to go to games regardless of a scandal here and there. It's unfortunate that this happened, but it's not the end of the world.
Yes, the game is bigger than any one person, but there is one person who is the game for many across the globe. In Canada, we're spoon fed this game from birth. It's a part of our cultural fabric, what defines us, it's interweaved with our identity as Canadians. Nothing can destroy this game in this country.
For many around the world, however, Wayne Gretzky is the face of the sport. I'll bet there's a large percentage of Americans who can only name one hockey player, and that's #99. This is what makes this such an intriguing story. Wayne Gretzky is by far the biggest name this sport has ever had and now his name is appearing in headlines alongside allegations of an illegal betting ring, gambling on sports and a New Jersey corrupt cop and crime family. It's all too close for comfort.
For the record, the playoff pool I run every year (except last year) and the NFL pool I join every fall are not illegal. If every dollar in is doled out to the players it's a perfectly legal operation. Bets with friends are legal too!