Sports betting — what’s the big deal?

When I told my friends about the story I was writing for today’s paper on Delaware’s sports betting they all asked me the same thing. So why the heck are the pro leagues against this?

It’s a good question and it’s one I have a hard time answering.  Here is the gist of the leagues’ argument against why Vegas-style betting on sports should not be expanded to Delaware:

“Sports betting lotteries involving single-game betting threaten the integrity of professional and amateur sports and are fundamentally at odds with the principle — essential to the success of the MLB, the NBA, the NCAA, the NFL and the NHL — that the outcomes of professional and collegiate athletic contests must be perceived by the public as being determined solely on the basis of honest athletic competition.”

Also, “The implementation of a full sports betting scheme in Delaware would irreparably harm professional and amateur sports by fostering suspicion and skepticism that individual plays and final scores of games may have been influenced by factors other than honest athletic competition.”

Click here for the full complaint.

Here are a couple of popular arguments against that statement.

1) NFL injury reports: why in the world should teams be required to submit injury reports Tuesdays and Thursdays if people weren’t watching the point spread? Sure, the reports also help for fantasy sports — which also turns into a form of gambling when players contribute money into a winner’s pot — but injury reports have been around much longer than fantasy sports. Continue reading

Chupacabra as tourist draw?

From the famed snallygaster of Frederick County to the Goat Man of Prince George’s County, Maryland has always provided ample fodder for amateur cryptozoologists. In the latest development, according to reports coming out of Charles County, a mysterious monkey-like creature was seen a few weeks ago lurking around a White Plains farm.

According to the Maryland Independent newspaper, a witness believes the creature is a chupacabra – Spanish for “goat sucker,” which supposedly drinks the blood of livestock. The Charles County government, taking a more conservative approach to the sighting, issued a press release (opens as a PDF) that an “animal resembling a monkey” might have been spotted in White Plains. Anyone with information about the creature is asked to call local officials.

While the chupacabra is thought to roam Mexico and the Southwest U.S., this is not the first time one has been sighted in Maryland. In 2004, a similarly unidentified creature thought to be a chupacabra, at left, was spotted in Joppa.

Considering the buzz the so-called  Muck Monster has generated for West Palm Beach recently – there, local officials went so far as to make the creature an honorary citizen – perhaps someone with entrepreneurial flair can find a way to generate to some tourism dollars off the elusive chupacabra in White Plains.

Nike denies Vick deal

Wow. In this 24-hour news cycle, if you don’t get in front of something right away, the rumors will fly.

Nike issued a statement this morning saying it is NOT signing Vick. From the Washington Post:

“Nike does not have a contractual relationship with Michael Vick,” the spokesman, Kejuan Wilkins, said, according to the reports. “We have agreed to supply product to Michael Vick as we do a number of athletes who are not under contract with Nike.”

Meanwhile a quick Google news search shows that about 850 news articles and opinion colums were published between 6 p.m. yesterday and this morning on the Nike “deal.”

So what the heck took Nike so long to correct this error?

Nike re-signs Michael Vick — more sponsors to follow?

UPDATE:  Nike is now denying that it has entered into a new endorsement deal with Michael Vick. See Liz Farmer’s updated blog here.

His is the fourth-highest selling jersey in the NFL this year — I’d guess you’d have to be insane to pass up on the opportunity to cash in.

Nike, which dropped then-Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick in 2007 after he plead guilty to running an interstate dog fighting ring, has resigned the reinstated QB who now plays for the Philadelphia Eagles. After his release from prison this summer, questions abounded about Vick’s ability to repair his image, get back into the league and be a starting player once again.

Seems we’re getting closer to those answers.

After serving his league suspension, Vick played last Sunday and took a few snaps for Kevin Kolb, who was starting in place of an injured Donovan McNabb. He threw two incomplete passes and ran for 7 yards, but the fans seemed to embrace him.

Reinstatement into the NFL? Check.

I saw a Vick jersey last Sunday at Delaware Park’s sports betting book. When I asked him why he bought it, he had this “Well, why wouldn’t I buy it?” look on his face.

“It’s his first time back today,” he said.

Apparently that’s good enough for fans…which is good enough for Nike. I get that. Image rehabilitation? I wouldn’t say “check,” but we’re on our way. Wonder what other former sponsors will come crawling back? AirTran? EA Sports?

But not everyone feels Nike’s being sensible. Check out Charles Robinson’s column on Yahoo! Sports for his view on why Nike’s move is hypocritical after the company basically scorned Vick in 2007.

What’s your take on Nike climbing on board with Vick?