“That ain’t why I play the game.”
The rise of sports betting in the United States has certainly brought people around the country a lot of fun and the sports leagues more eyeballs. One downside that I’m not sure that many people considered, though, was the negative effects the spread of betting can have on the athletes. Two such cases have come to light involving NBA players in just the last few days.
According to a report from ESPN on Tuesday, Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal is under police investigation for an altercation with a fan. The incident took place last Tuesday, March 21 in Orlando after the Wizards lost 122-112 to the Orlando Magic.
As the team was heading to the locker room after the game at the Amway Center, a man yelled at Beal, “You made me lose $1,300, you fuck!”
Understandably upset about the loss to a bad team as the Wizards are trying to climb into a postseason play-in game spot, Beal did not take kindly to this. According to the police report, Beal turned and headed toward a friend of the person who yelled at him, probably thinking he was the heckler, and swatted his hat off his head.
TMZ added a little more detail to the situation, reporting that Beal told the group of friends that the comment hurled at him was “disrespectful” and that “I don’t give a fuck about none of your bets or your parlays, bro. That ain’t why I play the game.”
The police said that the man could be heard apologizing on video. After about a minute, Beal went to the locker room. Unfortunately for Beal, as justified as he was to be mad at the comment, the police complaint says there is “probable cause exists to charge Beal with simple battery” because in the process of swatting the hat, he made contact with the wearer’s head.
Fan referred to player as a “slave”
North of the border, Toronto Raptors forward Chris Boucher sat in on the Hustle Play podcast and talked about how it is sometimes difficult to interact with fans because they don’t see him as a regular person.
“It’s just people want to put you in trouble,” Boucher said. “People want you to do what they want and what they see you for.”
And betting is making it all worse, he added, as now there are some people who feel like athletes owe them something more because they have money on the game.
“Somebody said, “I chose the wrong slave today.’ They literally sent me that message. I had to read it. I couldn’t believe it.”
“And now, guess what, the players now they don’t really mess with the fans as much,” Boucher continued. “We’re lucky we’re in Toronto, and we got the best fans. But I’m saying, imagine if you get messages like this. Now, you don’t really want to, you don’t know why that person is talking to you. I need you to score 10 today. Do I really want to talk to you now? Because if I score eight, you’’re going to flame my Twitter, my Instagram, and everything.”
“It gets to you. Now it’s what, you’re going to delete all your social and all that? Now you’re losing your life, the life that you’d be living. And everything changed.”
Image credit: Flickr.com / All-Pro Reels