Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Rose Says He Gambled on Baseball

This is not a strictly theological issue but after deep media reflection on this topic yesterday and in the days to come, I can't help but notice the issue of contrition and repentance involved. As well as the strict refusal of most of those reflecting or reporting to falter in recognizing that gambling involves the same sort of addictive structures and practices that drug or chemical abuse does. That Pete Rose lied publically for so many years when his earlier admission would have brought readmission to baseball does not surprise me one bit. Anyone who is addicted to anything has so much shame, power, and other problems with the truth that it takes someone to "hit bottom" usually before the truth can be confronted and healing begin. Sadly, many are still sounding out how deep the bottom is. And with it, the lies continue.

I do not know if Pete Rose has gone through treatment for gambling. But I hope that the media and baseball people--whose sport carries with it the reality of betting--will be kinder on the man and help him find his way. He was a great jewel of baseball. The man known as Charlie Hustle once said "I'd run through Hell in a gasoline suit just to play baseball." Facing his addiction and the truth may require greater courage.

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