Alex Rodriguez faced a possible suspension from the MLB for participating in illegal high-stakes poker games. But it turns out A-Rod may not have been at the seedy game, and Bud Selig may decide to just issue a warning.
But if A-Rod did play in illegal poker games, Major League Baseball may be setting itself up for even uglier situations in the future if they don’t suspend A-Rod now.
Playing poker in and of itself is not a big deal in the eyes of Major League Baseball. Nor should it be. Players do it at home, they do it in the clubhouse, and it is a common sight on team flights.
But when players start participating in card games that are associated with the word “illegal” and with the type of people who are organising illegal activities, that is where Selig must draw the line.
The concern is that a player will get in so deep with people at these games, that the player may be asked to alter the outcome of games to settle a debt.
Of course, A-Rod, who has earned more than $250 million in his career, is never going to be so deep that he can’t pay somebody off. But other players don’t have his deep pockets. And if Selig is only going to warn A-Rod (again), it sends the message to other players that this type of activity won’t be punished. And there are a lot of players in Major League Baseball that could get in big trouble with the wrong people.
If a player making league minimum ($414,000) is found to be playing in these high-stakes poker games, will everybody be as dismissive to the allegations? And would Selig be justified in issuing a warning? Right now, it looks like Selig wouldn’t have a choice, by setting a dangerous precedent with Rodriguez.
It is no secret that stars often get preferential treatment. If that is what is going on here, Selig should have done a better job keeping it behind closed doors. But now that it is in the open, Selig is making a big mistake by not suspending Rodriguez.