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Colin Cowherd Is A Sports Betting Hypocrite
Colin Cowherd is one of the few mainstream media personalities that actually acknowledges that sports betting exists and is a massive industry. For that, I respect him. But the quality of his coverage is like most people’s: poor.
There are some "mainstream" media personalities, like @ESPN_Colin, who think they know about betting. But their understanding is sophomoric.
— WagerMinds (@WagerMinds) March 5, 2014
Cowherd discussed the poor quality of mainstream sports gambling coverage this morning on “The Herd,” and I perked up, having recently answered the upsetting question: Why Are Grantland And The New York Times Peddling The Bullshit Of Sports Betting Sleazeballs?
But, unsurprisingly, Cowherd simply wound up looking like a hypocrite — continuing his own, constant mistakes and spreading misinformation.
I transcribed most of the interview, and here are some lowlights, with commentary on why the segment was upsetting.
He started out with the simplest issue, the singular thing that many mainstream outlets actually do understand and cover properly: It’s ridiculous that sports betting is illegal.
One of the big industries out there in this country — it kinda cracks me up… I used to live in Vegas, and I’ve never quite understood in this country where like $800 billion are bet on sports, but you can’t legally bet on sports.
You got the buyer, you got the seller, you got the infrastructure, but you can’t do it.
It’s like pot. If I wanted to get pot, I could get it in 45 minutes from now. Probably from one of my producers. I mean, radio producers. Not pot producers.
But the point is: After a while… just institutionalize it, and tax it and make some money. So, I’ve always been kinda pro-sports-gambling.
Good. I like that he explicitly says that, because some guys are afraid to, or so clueless that they don’t get it. Good start.
All the guys I knew in Vegas, all the guys I know in New York, they’re all legit guys.
ALERT (never believe anyone when they say a gambling guy is “legit”)
So, Jack Ford is doing a piece on 60 Minutes Sports tonight about New Jersey. New Jersey is trying to legalize sports gambling and all the leagues are against it.
Again, this is a simple issue. Leagues profit indirectly off sports betting and their opposition to it is hypocritical and absurd. Sports betting is a thriving, massive industry and it should clearly be legal. It’s legal in the vast majority of the world. The US is backwards.
But the funny thing about it — and I love Jack — but I’ve always felt bad for the guys like Chad Millman at this company and our buddy RJ Bell and all the guys I know that do this for a living. Like they’re all, like, regular guys, with kids, and families — they’re like, regular guys. But every time they do a story on it, like Jack Ford’s gonna do, they always get, like, former conmen.
And now, I shed a few tears. I’ll ignore Chad Millman for the purposes of this article, although there are many problems with his work.
But he’s grouping RJ Bell (and Millman) in with “all the guys (he) know(s) that do this for a living.” Ignoring the fact that we have no idea who these professional gamblers he knows are, or if they’re in any way legit — let’s realize that neither Millman nor Bell are professional gamblers. They don’t even claim to be.
But here’s the real problem: “my buddy RJ Bell.” Cowherd is trying to explain why the mainstream media fails at covering sports betting, and then he praises RJ Bell.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about: Legitimizing this man “named” RJ Bell is a huge problem. And Cowherd is one of the biggest facilitators of Bell’s con, featuring him on his show for years, giving him the platform (~80k Twitter followers!) he has today.
RJ Bell sells bad sports picks to make money. He relies on credibility indicators like “I’m on ESPN radio!” to con people into buying losing sports picks. Very simple problem.
So he’s gonna have this show tonight — 60 Minutes Sports — and he finds a former mobster to do it. And I’ve already seen bits and pieces of it, and the mobster has some insight — now the guy’s gone clean now in New Jersey, but it’s like: Couldn’t you get Chad Millman? It’s always a guy named, Bobby the Revolver Costino, or Pauly The Pin Cushion. ‘Hey, let’s get Nicky Two-Times and Johnny Mattress — they’ll have an opinion on it. Joey Bananas used to be in the industry.
I feel bad for some people in some industries — they’re a family man, and they’ve got kids and are just trying to make a decent living in gambling, and now they go out and get… Cadillac Carl!
Chad Millman is nowhere near the best source to talk about the legalization of sports betting, but, again, that’s not a big issue. He knows enough to say “leagues are hypocritical and should legalize betting.” He would probably do an acceptable job on 60 Minutes. Possibly better than “Johnny Mattress.”
But Cowherd still mentioned RJ Bell, as if this “regular guy” who sells people losing picks for a living, is some sort of transparent, honest guy. I could go on for days here, but I’ll leave you with this: According to the Times Leader, the dude doesn’t even use his real name. (Though the rest of the article is horrid and serves as an example of typical sports betting “coverage.”)
But, what you might not have realized about gambling guru R.J. Bell or – as he’s more well known in the Ohio Valley – Randall Busack is that he’s a 1988 Shadyside High graduate.
Oh, and RJ Bell’s employees are no different. His touts are “named” Vegas Runner, Goodfella, Johnny Detroit, King Creole and Denver Money.
If you really care about improving sports betting coverage, Colin, get your shit together. At least Pauly the Pin Cushion cleaned up his act. RJ Bell is still conning people, and you’re helping him do it.
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