With more legal US sports betting states in 2023 and millions of new bettors signing up to sportsbooks, it’s no surprise there’s been a corresponding increase in controversy, scandal, and rule breaking. What is perhaps surprising is that it took until last week for someone to try wheedle some inside betting information out of a sports journalist.
asked Sherman who he would pick for the National League’s MVP
According to the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, veteran New York Post baseball columnist and MLB network insider Joel Sherman was subject to the shady approach. The WSJ cited a text message from an unfamiliar number sent to Sherman from an unnamed sender. The sender, intimating prior friendship with the baseball columnist, asked Sherman who he would pick for the National League’s MVP, in which Ronald Acuña Jr. and Mookie Betts are the standout favorites.
That organized criminals in the sports betting field have long targeted coaches and athletes to alter the outcome of a game, or to get inside information, is a well-known fact in the US and beyond. As the buttonholing of Sherman revealed, however, journalists now hold a lot of power in booming post-PASPA USA in terms of their “access to inside information and their ability to affect gambling markets.”
quickly blew the whistle
Sherman naturally didn’t give his MVP pick away to the sender. Instead, he quickly blew the whistle and informed Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) President Shi Davidi of the illegal approach.
Davidi then emailed the entire BBWAA organization, warning the 30 MVP award voters to “keep vigilant” and that any link to sports wagering information could besmirch the integrity of the award. Davidi warned: “Even a seemingly innocent feeler, like the one Joel received, could lead to unintended consequences.”
Blind eye to betting
Sports journalists are privy to inside information like injuries, team morale and more, plus their votes go towards crowning Hall of Famers. Despite holding such a repository of knowledge, some media houses have zero gambling guidelines for their journalists while, states the WSJ: “many have no guidelines at all.”
As the Sherman incident highlights, journalists and sports betting are coming together in potentially prickly ways.