Has Gretzky gone morally bankrupt?

Over this last week, a controversial issue has taught me to look at people for who they are—and not through who the media makes them out to be.
Wayne Gretzky has been through a whirlwind of events over the last week. With the pressure of the Olympic hockey team gearing up for the 2006 competition and with his Phoenix Coyotes pulling the shoot this season, the last thing Gretzky needed was the recent gambling scandal that was uncovered involving his wife, Janet Jones, and assistant coach Rick Tocchet.
I think he’s handled the situation quite well considering the outward abuse he’s endured from the media. But heck, let’s talk about it anyway.
I find it hard to believe Gretzky’s had no knowledge of his wife’s involvement in the multi-million dollar gambling ring. I have found it hard to admit the man I outwardly deemed as a “hero”—not only for his hockey skill, but for his morals and values—is being connected with anything illegal.
I have been forced to look at this issue from both sides.
If he did have knowledge of his wife’s involvement, what does that say about him as a person? I think a lot of who we are is portrayed through who we choose to associate and spend our time with.
If Gretzky chose to continue the relationship with his wife knowing she was involved in illegal gambling, which has been rumoured to be connected with the mob, it goes against anything and everything I have ever preached about “The Great One.”
I saw Gretzky as a man of truth, honour, and integrity. But when his wife is betting on sporting events that ultimately could alter or end his reputation, career, and liability, it makes me wonder how he could stand by and watch this go down.
He should have spoken up, if not for the moral dilemma, at least for the sake of professional sports in general. It’s one thing for the average citizen to bet pro-line or even dabble in some online sport gambling.
But when you ultimately can impact the outcome of a game based on your high-standing position in the NHL, it’s scary to think what professional sports could become in the future.
Regardless of whether or not he physically made a bet himself, the point is the person who is making the bet may have a few connections (a.k.a. her husband, Wayne Gretzky, and all of his friends who happen to be NHL coaches).
Also, I remember Janet Jones (yeah, she was big) for about five seconds—and I’m pretty sure she didn’t make enough money to drop $500,000 in less than four months.
I have a sneaking suspicion she may have dabbled in her husband’s earnings.
Now, to be fair, let’s give Gretzky the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he really didn’t have any idea that all this illegal activity was going on right under his nose. And there’s a serious possibility his wife has a problem with gambling.
Really, who bets $5,000 on an NFL coin toss? I smell an addiction.
The only people who really know the truth are Gretzky and Jones. It’s easy for the public to pass judgment (I’m pretty sure I just passed my own), but really, no one will ever know what really occurred.
The way I see it is no pro athlete, coach, or family member should be able to bet on professional sporting events. There are too many dishonest people out there and, in the end, I think all of us true sports fans would suffer.
If they don’t have anything to hide and need to gamble that badly, do it like most people—legally.

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