Players’ unions come together to put out statement on gambling (Via ESPN)

By Ben Fawkes
Thursday, April 12, 2018

With the sports world still awaiting the Supreme Court’s ruling on the New Jersey sports betting case, the major player associations — NFLPA, the NBPA, the NHLPA and the MLBPA — had been silent on the topic.

That changed on Thursday morning, when they released a joint statement clarifying their position on sports betting.

The statement in part reads: “The time has come to address not just who profits from sports gambling, but also the costs. Our unions have been discussing the potential impact of legalized gambling on players’ privacy and publicity rights, the integrity of our games and the volatility on our businesses. Betting on sports may become widely legal, but we cannot allow those who have lobbied the hardest for sports gambling to be the only ones controlling how it would be ushered into our businesses. The athletes must also have a seat at the table to ensure that players’ rights and the integrity of our games are protected.”

This saga all began back in 2012 when the four major sports leagues sued New Jersey governor Chris Christie after he attempted to pass a law allowing sports betting in the state. That law directly flew in the face of the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which makes it unlawful for a state to “sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license, or authorize by law” sports wagering. Only Nevada was grandfathered in, along with lotteries in three other states.

The case made its way through the court system before SCOTUS took the case and heard oral arguments on Dec. 4, 2017. Since the oral arguments, nearly 20 states have introduced sports betting bills, and the NBA and MLB have been proactive in asking for an “integrity fee” in many of them. The leagues are looking for a percentage of the bets made on their sport (proposals have ranged from 1 percent to .25 percent) to be their revenue in order to cover the costs of regulation and integrity monitoring that expanded sports betting would require.

A big issue for the players’ associations appears to be how that additional revenue would be split up between the leagues and players. The “publicity rights” line in the statement also could signal the major player associations looking for a cut of player proposition bets (i.e. Will Aaron Judge hit a HR? How many 3-pointers will LeBron James hit this half? etc.).

Sports betting operators say that this “integrity fee” would be prohibitive to their bottom line, as hold percentages (amount won) is typically around 5 percent of the amount bet. A integrity fee of 1 percent would therefore equate to 20 percent of revenue. And the last thing they want to do is have the legalization of sports betting in the U.S. make the illegal betting market more attractive.

The next potential date for the Supreme Court to offer an opinion on the New Jersey case is April 30.


Ex-wife of NBA player Lorenzen Wright charged in his 2010 slaying

(CNN) — In Memphis, Lorenzen Wright was a favorite son. He grew up there and was a star basketball player in high school and at the University of Memphis.

At 6-foot-11, he was a first-round pick in the NBA draft and played 13 seasons in the league, including a stint with the Memphis Grizzlies.
But Wright’s retirement ended in a shocking, violent manner.  His bullet-ridden body was found in a swampy field outside Memphis in July 2010. He was 34 and had been out of basketball a year.
The city mourned, and thousands attended a memorial service in the FedEx Forum, where the Grizzlies play. But police could not figure out who killed him. Years went by.
The Lorenzen Wright slaying became Memphis’ most famous cold case.

Two arrests made

On Saturday, Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings announced two indictments in the case.
Sherra Wright-Robinson and Billy Turner.

 Sherra Wright-Robinson and Billy Turner.
Wright’s ex-wife, Sherra Wright-Robinson, 46, was taken into custody in Riverside, California, and charged with conspiring with a Memphis-area man to kill her former husband. She was indicted on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.
Billy Turner, also 46, of the Memphis suburb of Collierville, was arrested December 5 and charged with the same offenses, Rallings said. CNN affiliate WREG reported that Turner pleaded not guilty on Tuesday. He remains in the Shelby County Jail on $1 million bond.
Rallings didn’t say exactly what led police to make the arrests and didn’t provide a motive for the killing. He said more people may be charged.
When asked about the relationship between the suspects, Rallings said, “It’s safe to say they knew each other.”
CNN could not immediately reach lawyers for the two suspects for comment.

Gunfire on 911 call

Wright, who had a home in Atlanta, was last seen at his former wife’s home in Collierville, near Memphis, shortly before midnight on July 18, 2010, investigators said. He was visiting his children.
A 911 call was placed from his phone in the early hours of July 19, but the call was interrupted by gunfire, police said. The 911 center in Germantown, a Memphis suburb, fielded the call and didn’t share the information with Memphis police for days.
His mother reported Wright missing July 22. When Memphis police finally got the 911 call and determined which cell tower transmitted the call, they were able to locate the body on July 28 in a field near Hacks Cross Road and Winchester Road, about 24 miles east of the middle of Memphis.
By then, the body had badly decomposed under the sun and rain. Wright was so famous in the city that hundreds of Wright’s fans rushed to the spot where the body was found.
Case of ex-NBA star's death goes cold

Gun found in a lake

Major Darren Goods of the city’s Multi-Agency Gang Unit, who helped lead the investigation, said a major break came this fall when investigators got a tip about a lake near Walnut, Mississippi. The renewed investigation was dubbed Operation Rebound.
“In basketball when you get a rebound, that gives you a second chance,” he said. “This would give us a second chance to bring some closure to this case and give this grieving family some relief.”
The lake had previously been searched, but this time the unit asked for help from an FBI dive team, which found a pistol on November 9, he said. That pistol was examined in the crime lab and determined to be one of the weapons used to shoot Wright, he said.
In a news release, police said Carter and Sherra Wright-Robinson had also tried to kill Wright between April 1 and July 17 at Wright’s home outside Atlanta. They recruited another, unidentified co-conspirator, the news release said.
Wright was a forward/center for several teams during his professional basketball career. He played with the Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings before finishing his NBA career in 2008-2009 with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Wright, who had six children, completed his degree at the University of Memphis in 2003, according to the NBA’s website.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to miss 3 road games as part of plea deal

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said he will not be able to play in three Los Angeles Lakers‘ road games outside the state of California in the next few weeks due to a modified 25-day restriction stemming from a plea agreement he reached on a misdemeanor offense while a player for the Detroit Pistons.

If the Lakers guard complies with this new restriction, he is slated to miss the Lakers’ games at Houston on Dec. 20, at Houston again on Dec. 31 and at Minnesota on Jan. 1. The only other Lakers’ road game during the 25-day restriction — which was given to Caldwell-Pope following a court appearance in Michigan this past week — is at Golden State on Dec. 22. Caldwell-Pope will be able to play in that game since he will not be leaving the state.

Caldwell-Pope already has missed one road game due to the restrictionand was not with the team for the Lakers’ 121-112 loss at Cleveland on Thursday.

“With the court situation, we came up with the agreement that I still get to carry on with my season but only in the state of California for the 25-day restriction that I have,” Caldwell-Pope said after practice on Saturday. “I was blessed that I am able to continue to play ball.”

Caldwell-Pope was originally cited for operating a vehicle while intoxicated but pleaded guilty in May to the lesser charge of allowing someone to operate his vehicle while under the influence, which carried a 12-month probation. Caldwell-Pope left the Lakers following a game in New York last Tuesday to Michigan, where he learned he had to return to California and miss Thursday’s game in Cleveland to start an intensive program over the next 25 days with the intention of ending his probation early.

“It helps,” Caldwell-Pope said of 25-day restriction allowing him to continue to play basketball. “With the court situation, we came up with the agreement that I still get to carry on with my season but only in the state of California for the 25-day restriction that I have. I was blessed that I am able to continue to play ball.”

“It was always a possibility that I would continue to play,” the guard added. “I just had agreed to some restrictions in order for me to continue to play.”

“As a result of his professional basketball work schedule, the court has modified the sentence and released him from probation early so long as he completes an intensive program over the next 25 days. There will be some travel restrictions, but we are pleased that Kentavious will now continue with his NBA season and move forward in a positive manner from this experience.”

Caldwell-Pope, who signed a one-year, $18-million contract with the Lakers as a free agent, is averaging 14.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals while shooting 36.1% from 3-point range. The Lakers have leaned on Caldwell-Pope, 24, to provide veteran leadership, turn the Lakers’ defense around and at times be the team’s closer in close games.

“He is one of those guys that hits big shots for us and when you are on the road you can stall out a little bit like we have a tendency to do from time to time and he is somebody that can get it going and hit two or three straight jumpers or make a big play on defense or get a steal for us,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “There are things from both ends of the floor that we will miss from him. But it was nice having him back with us today in practice.”

On Saturday, the Lakers released a statement saying the team is “abiding by the terms of a program for Kentavious that were established for him by a court in the state of Michigan.”

Caldwell-Pope was suspended under the NBA’s personal conduct policy for the Lakers’ first two games of the season. The Lakers started rookie guard Josh Hart in place of Caldwell-Pope in Cleveland and Hart responded with a career-high 11 points and 10 rebounds in his first start.

“It has been very disappointing to me as well, as far as my teammates, I feel like I let them down as well, my coaches, the organization,” Caldwell-Pope said. “I just have to deal with this legal situation that came with it.”