San Francisco Giants Players Harassed By Sports Bettors Speak Out

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
Jun/11/2024

This past weekend, a number of San Francisco Giants players opened up about being harassed by sports bettors, mostly on social media apps. 

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It's Getting Really Ugly

“I had to make my Venmo private because I’d blow a game or something, and people would find me on Venmo, and they’d send me requests,” Tyler Rogers told USA Today. “‘Hey, you cost me $1,500. You better pay me back.’ It definitely gets people a lot more upset than it used to.”

Matt Chapman said, “Fans used to just say normal things like, ‘You’re a bum.’ Now, that they have all that money on us, fans will talk a lot of [expletive] to us. I’ll even have fans Venmo requesting me for money. I had to change my Venmo.”

“People are really passionate about teams, and now that you add money to it, it’s bigger than ever,” Giants star pitcher Logan Webb said. “My first year, there wasn’t that much gambling going on. It was just, ‘Oh, you suck. You shouldn’t be on the team.’ Just things like that.

"Now, you’re getting, ‘You just cost me money.’ They say some [messed] up [expletive]. I get a lot of that with strikeouts. ‘Hey, I got money on you for strikeouts. Are you going to hit it?’ I always look up and say, ‘Probably not.’ There are times it gets pretty serious.”

The Giants play in California, a state that does not yet regulate sports betting.  Those living in California can still bet with offshore sportsbooks and local pay per head bookies.

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When it comes to this type of harassment, those at the college level appear most vulnerable.

Shockingly, the NCAA said the data showed women's basketball players received approximately three times more overall threats than men's players and that 15-25% of abuse directed at players, coaches and officials who are involved in the most popular college sports was related to betting.

"Individuals who harass athletes, amateur or professional, over a sports bet should not be tolerated," Joe Maloney, senior vice president of strategic communications for the American Gaming Association, told ESPN in a statement. "Importantly, the legal sports wagering market is providing the transparency critical to discuss solutions to reducing player harassment for the first time -- an opportunity illegal market actors do not provide. We look forward to continuing our dialogue with the NCAA, professional leagues, and other stakeholders on the universal shared goal of reducing athlete harassment."

States Cracking Down

While California has yet to regulate sports betting, states that have are now imposing limits on so-called performance player prop bets, with a primary focus on college sports. Performance player prop bets include such things as whether an individual will score over or under a posted number of points.

The NCAA continues to pressure state regulators into eliminating these types of bets.  Some states like Ohio, Vermont, Louisiana and Maryland are already on board.  Others, including New Jersey and the college sports mecca of North Carolina are expected to follow suit.

West Virginia has passed a law banning those found to be harassing players from attending games in the state.

HB 4700 authorizes the West Virginia Lottery Commission to determine if a person poses a threat to “patrons or participants in a sports event.”

Often times the harassment occurs in the stadium or arena but the measure would seek to punish those engaging in harassment online as well.

It's Getting Completely Out of Hand

White Sox outfielder  Tommy Pham, who said he likes to play cards in the offseason, acknowledged how betting has affected baseball.

“It’s getting completely out of hand,” Pham told USA Today. “As a Blackjack gambler myself, you shouldn’t bet on anything you’re not prepared to lose, but we know that doesn’t happen, and it brings out all of these keyboard warriors. It’s getting worse and worse.”

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