Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Evander Kane nearly became the NHL’s version of Pete Rose.

October 6, 2021 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Sports, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) In 2018, sports underwent a monumental, generation-altering change as the U.S. Supreme Court reversed lower court findings, favoring New Jersey in deciding that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, also known as PASPA, be overturned, allowing state-sponsored sports betting. In the years since, sports betting has taken off significantly in America. In October 2020, Americans legally bet an estimated US $3 billion on sports for the first time in a single month, according to the American Gaming Association while gamblers placed $4.3 billion in bets on the Super Bowl LV game featuring Tampa Bay and Kansas City, marking “the largest single-event legal handle in American sports betting history,” the American Gaming Association estimated. Remarkably, sports betting has not been hurt by the pandemic as many Americans have found it as a new pastime or a supplement if they were a preexisting sports fan.

For athletes, the name most associated with gambling is baseball great Pete Rose. Rose and the 1919 Chicago White Sox known for the “Black Sox Scandal” are the people most associated with gambling punishments by players or managers in sports history. Due to their respective actions, eight White Sox players from that losing World Series team were permanently expelled from Major League Baseball including star pitcher Eddie Cicotte and renowned outfielder “Shoeless” Joe Jackson while Pete Rose’s transgressions as a manager led to his lifetime banishment from baseball in 1989. Rose was banned for betting on the game of baseball while serving as the manager of the Cincinnati Reds. At the time, no evidence was found that Rose had ever wagered against the Reds but it wasn’t fully determined that he also bet on his team. Rose would seek reinstatement under the reigns of Major League Baseball’s various commissioners over the decades but each case was denied. Despite having more hits than anyone in MLB history, Pete Rose’s actions as a manager are the reason he is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame.


San Jose Sharks hockey player Evander Kane is a former top five NHL Draft pick. He has played 12 years in the National Hockey League and has earned slightly over $55 million dollars during those seasons in the NHL. By all accounts, he has had a successful hockey career especially considering he is among the small number of Black NHL players in the league. However, Kane has been under intense pressure after the NHL’s investigation into accusations from his estranged wife that he wagered on his own games and threw games for gambling purposes. His wife alleged on Instagram on July 31, 2021 that Kane wagered on NHL games “with bookies” and had a gambling addiction. Despite the NHL’s investigation, Kane was optimistic that his name would be cleared telling ESPN’s Linda Cohn in a TV interview, “I understood the magnitude of them immediately. I know [they’re] not true. I know none of what she was saying was true. I was very confident, comfortable with knowing that I was going to be exonerated and am going to be exonerated of those allegations.” Months later, the NHL completed its gambling investigation of Evander Kane and said it has found no evidence that the San Jose Sharks Left Winger either gambled on NHL games or made any effort to negatively impact the outcome of his own team’s games.

Unlike Rose, Kane is not among the all-time greats at his sport and there was no threat of losing an opportunity at the Hall of Fame with the gambling allegations. Rose became a pariah in a different way than alleged performance-enhancing drug users Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens did regarding the Hall of Fame and Evander Kane doesn’t have to face that for now. He does have more pressing and serious issues to deal with related to his divorce proceedings. There are claims from Kane’s wife that her husband had both physically abused and sexually assaulted her during their marriage. Those could leave a bigger tarnishing of his image in the public than gambling or betting ever would.

Staff Writer; Mark Hines

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