May 27th, 2024

Noteworthy: With gambling exploding across pro sports, pro athletes entangled is just inevitable

By Bruce Penton on April 24, 2024.

Gambling and professional sports are so intertwined these days, is it any surprise that the occasional scandal arises? Toronto Raptors’ Jontay Porter has been banned for life for betting indiscretions; baseball’s Shohei Ohtani got embroiled in a gambling controversy when his interpreter was accused of stealing $16 million from the Dodger slugger-pitcher to pay off gambling debts; Ottawa Senators’ Shane Pinto was suspended for half of this season for gambling matters.

We are bombarded with gambling ads on most sports programs, even featuring beloved superstars like Connor McDavid and Wayne Gretzky. Calgary Flames have a ‘Play Alberta’ logo printed on their helmet, supposedly urging hockey fans to go to the gambling site and join the suckers who lose more often than win. I’m not playing the holier-than-thou card because I dabble in a little wagering myself (on a very small scale), but the pro sports teams and leagues getting into bed with the big-money casino/betting operations can’t be healthy in the long term. The Flames could start by having that ‘Play Alberta’ logo removed from their helmets and plan to sell a few more hot dogs instead to replace that lost revenue.

• People today are missing out on what was a common pastime for people of a certain age – collecting ticket stubs from major events such as concerts, sporting events or stage plays. Today, it’s far more common to have the ‘ticket’ electronically embedded into your email and have it scanned upon entry. Scrapbooks where those ticket stubs would be kept – and looked at from time to time to refresh memories of great events – no longer exist. Good or bad? Or just, ‘that’s progress, I guess.’

• I’ll have an apple, right now. Dietitian Leslie Beck, writing in the Globe and Mail, says avoiding consumption of fruit to slow or stop weight gain is a myth. I used to be an apple-a-day guy until some medical advice suggested I consider cutting back on apples to deal with a potential diabetic problem. Cutting back on apples turned into total elimination for a while, and then after a few thoughts of ‘well, I’m going to die someday anyhow,’ I returned to my apple addiction – but only one a week. Now that Leslie Beck says it’s OK, I’m going to go on a three-apple-a-week binge. Starting right now!

• Conservative columnist and podcaster Charles Adler of Winnipeg thinks Pierre Poilievre will be Canada’s next prime minister, but he’s not forecasting a rout. In a Tyee interview, Adler says, “It’s Poilievre’s to lose. And I think he does have the capacity to lose it, because he is very complacent. He is very smug. He is very, very easy to dislike.” (There’s a guy currently sitting in the PM’s chair who is also very, very easy to dislike.) Poilievre could be vulnerable in a debate, Adler continues. “I think there are several people on the Liberal side who could defeat Poilievre, Trudeau included. Who’s the fella, the housing minister, Sean Fraser? I’ve seen Sean Fraser in the House and he absolutely swats Poilievre like a bug.”

• Earth Day was Monday. Did you shut off all unnecessary electrical outlets in your home? Did you recycle? Did you pick up trash around your neighbourhood? Did you plant a flower? Take steps to conserve water? Or, did you do like most and say ‘ah, who cares about Earth Day?’

• Short snappers: It’s lost-and-found-pickup week at Co-op Place in Medicine Hat until this Sunday. Or, in other words, a free garage sale. Items are displayed in the front lobby, so if you’ve lost anything, reclaim it by Sunday. .. A great charity fund-raiser for someone to consider might be a one-on-one debate between Linnsie Clark and Ted Clugston. Admission fee: $20. Suggestions will be accepted for a moderator. … The Medicine Hat Potters’ Association’s annual ‘Clay it Forward’ raised $1,125 and donated it to The Honeycomb House, a designated area at the public library program which offers quality programming to Medicine Hat youth. A library staff person will always be nearby and a child and youth care counsellor will always be on call. The potters produced great bowls, mugs, plates, etc., and put them up for sale in local businesses. … Ted Scott is the caddy for ultra-red-hot pro golfer Scottie Scheffler and so far in 2024, Scott has earned $1.78 million. By comparison, World No. 2 Rory McIlroy has banked $1.71 million. … Kerry Joseph, who played 14 seasons in the Canadian Football League with four teams – Saskatchewan, Toronto, Ottawa and Edmonton – is a first-year quarterbacks coach for the Chicago Bears, who tomorrow will be drafting QB Caleb Williams, the highest profile player coming into the National Football League. Joseph may have more pressure on him than his rookie quarterback will.

Bruce Penton is a retired News editor who may be reached at

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