Betting Scandals For Mlb's Marcano And Nba's Porter Are Hardly The First In Pro Sports

FILE -  Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Tucupita Marcano (30) in the first inning during a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Saturday, July 8, 2023, in Phoenix. Major League Baseball has permanently banned Marcano Tuesday, June 4, 2024, for betting on baseball and suspended the four other players for one year after finding the players placed unrelated bets with a legal sportsbook. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, FIle)
FILE - Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Tucupita Marcano (30) in the first inning during a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Saturday, July 8, 2023, in Phoenix. Major League Baseball has permanently banned Marcano Tuesday, June 4, 2024, for betting on baseball and suspended the four other players for one year after finding the players placed unrelated bets with a legal sportsbook. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, FIle)
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Sports and gambling are once again in the spotlight following lifetime bans handed to San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano and Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter.

MLB said Marcano placed 387 baseball bets totaling more than $150,000 with a legal sportsbook in 2022 and 2023. The 24-year-old Venezuelan with 149 games of major league experience became the first active player in a century banned for life because of gambling.

New York Giants outfielder Jimmy O’Connell in 1924 was the last active major leaguer banned for life under the sport’s gambling provision. Pete Rose, baseball’s career hits leader, agreed to a lifetime ban in 1989 after an investigation concluded he bet on Cincinnati Reds games while managing the team.

Oakland Athletics pitcher Michael Kelly was also suspended for one year on Tuesday for betting on baseball while in the minor leagues, and three minor leaguers also were banned for one year for betting on big league games: pitchers Jay Groome of San Diego and Andrew Saalfrank of Arizona, and infielder José Rodríguez of Philadelphia. Each of those four players wagered under $1,000. Saalfrank and Rodríguez played previously in the majors.

Those bans came nearly two months after an NBA probe found Porter disclosed confidential information to sports bettors and wagered on games, even betting on the Raptors to lose.

Here is a glance at other betting scandals involving professional sports:

— In 1920, a Chicago grand jury indicted eight members of the Chicago White Sox on charges of fixing the 1919 World Series, which became known as the “Black Sox Scandal.” White Sox owner Charles Comiskey immediately suspended the eight players, including “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, and they were banned permanently a year later by newly appointed baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Although a jury returned a not guilty verdict on all charges against the eight, their ban from baseball remains in place.

— In 1946, Hockey hall of famer Babe Pratt was suspended for gambling before being reinstated weeks later, with the NHL Board of Governors issuing a warning that any further instances of gambling would lead to a player’s lifetime suspension.

— In 1948, Billy Taylor and Don Gallinger were issued lifetime bans from the NHL for betting on hockey games.

— In 1951, 35 active and former players were accused of fixing at least 86 games between 1947 and 1951. Among those implicated were four members of the Adolph Rupp-coached Kentucky Wildcats, accused of taking bribes from gamblers ahead of an NIT game against Loyola during the 1948-49 season. An NCAA investigation found several violations, which led to the cancellation of Kentucky’s 1952-53 season.

— In 1980, two Italian soccer teams were relegated and five others penalized for their involvement in a match-fixing scandal that was dubbed “Totonero.” Most notably, Paolo Rossi was banned for two years for his involvement while playing for Perugia.

— In 1981, Former Boston College basketball player Rick Kuhn and four others, including New York mobster Jimmy Burke, were convicted of conspiring to fix basketball games in the 1978-79 season.

— In 1985, Tulane suspended its basketball program in the wake of point-shaving and other allegations. The school resumed basketball for the 1989-90 season.

— In 1989, Pete Rose agreed to a lifetime ban after an investigation for MLB by lawyer John Dowd found Rose placed numerous bets on the Cincinnati Reds to win from 1985-87 while playing for and managing the team. Now 82, baseball’s all-time leader with 4,256 hits remains ineligible for induction into Cooperstown, and has numerous requests for reinstatement denied.

— In 1996, 13 Boston College football players were suspended for gambling, including two who bet against B.C. in a 45-17 loss to Syracuse. Coach Dan Henning, who informed school officials upon hearing allegations of players placing bets with bookies, resigned. No evidence of point-shaving was found.

— In 2007, current Vancouver Canucks coach Rick Tocchet was placed on two years probation after pleading guilty to conspiracy and promoting gambling while serving as an assistant coach with the Coyotes. He was reinstated by the NHL the following year. Also initially implicated in a gambling scheme titled “Operation Slapshot” involving a New Jersey-based ring were several players, Wayne Gretzky’s wife, Janet Jones, and Gretzky’s former agent and then Coyotes GM Michael Barnett.

— In 2008, NBA referee Tim Donaghy pleaded guilty to wire fraud and transmitting betting information for taking thousands of dollars from a gambler for inside tips on games, including games he worked. He was sentenced by a federal judge to 15 months behind bars.

— In 2019, former Wales men’s rugby team captain Rob Howley was sent home on the eve of the Rugby World Cup, where he was to work as an assistant coach. Howley had made 363 bets, including on Wales’ 2019 Six Nations Grand Slam decider against Ireland. He was suspended from rugby for 18 months.

— In 2021, England defender Kieran Trippier was banned for 10 weeks after providing insider information on his potential transfer to friends who were then betting on the outcome.

— In the NFL, at least 15 players have been suspended by the league for gambling violations. The list dates to 1963, when two eventual hall of famers, Green Bay halfback Paul Hornung and Detroit defensive tackle Alex Karras, were suspended for the season for betting on league games. In 2022, the NFL suspended then Atlanta receiver Calvin Ridley for the entire season for gambling on NFL games a year earlier while away from the Falcons addressing mental health concerns.

— In May 2023, Brazil’s lower house of Congress opened a probe into a soccer match-fixing scandal. It is the third investigation into evidence of wrongdoing by soccer players who allegedly made sure to get bookings and gave away penalties in exchange for bribes.

— Last summer, six-time major tournament-winning golfer Phil Mickelson was alleged to have wagered more than $1 billion over the last three decades, and wanted to place a $400,000 bet on the 2012 Ryder Cup, while representing Team USA, in a book written by renowned gambler Billy Walters. A month later, Mickelson wrote in a lengthy social media post that he has stopped gambling, and acknowledging his betting habits crossed the line from moderation to addiction. Mickelson denied ever betting on the Ryder Cup.

— Soccer players Ivan Toney of Brentford, Sandro Tonali of Newcastle and Nicolò Fagioli of Juventus have all served gambling bans this season. Fagioli was banned for seven months by the Italian soccer federation. Italian player Tonali was banned for 10 months last year for betting on teams he played for.

-- In October, the NHL issued a 41-game suspension to Ottawa Senators forward Shane Pinto for sports gambling. The NHL would only say there was no evidence of Pinto betting on hockey. Pinto declined to reveal any details upon rejoining the Senators in January.

— In March, the Los Angeles Dodgers fired Ippei Mizuhara, the interpreter and close friend of newly acquired two-way star Shohei Ohtani following reports regarding his ties to an illegal bookmaker. Three months later, Mizuhara pled guilty in federal court to bank and tax fraud for stealing nearly $17 million from Ohtani's bank account. He spent the money to cover his growing gambling bets and debts with an illegal bookmaker, plus $325,000 worth of baseball cards and his own medical bills. Mizuhara capitalized on the language barrier to keep Ohtani’s financial advisers from understanding their client, and at times, Mizuhara even impersonated the player to the bank to prolong the fraud.


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