Jontay Porter’s NBA gambling scandal is totally stupid and was completely inevitable

If you bet the over on 0.5 NBA gambling scandals this year, get ready to cash in. In the wake of Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN’s report that the league was investigating Toronto Raptors two-way player Jontay Porter over suspiciously huge cash-outs on prop bets involving his individual stats, more allegations have come to light about just how involved in gambling Porter may have been.

First, a little background in case you missed it. On Monday evening, Woj reported that the NBA was investigating “prop bets involving Porter from games on Jan. 26 and March 20.” The details are, as you might expect, fairly damning:

In the game on Jan. 26 against the LA Clippers, there was increased betting interest on the under for Porter props, which for the night were set at around 5.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists. There was also an over/under for Porter’s made 3-pointers, which was 0.5.

That evening, Porter played just four minutes before leaving the game because of what the Raptors said was an aggravation of an eye injury he had suffered four days earlier against the Memphis Grizzlies. Porter did not score against the Clippers but had three rebounds and one assist, and he did not attempt a 3, meaning the under hit on all of the props.

The next day, as part of a daily report to users on betting results, DraftKings Sportsbook stated that the under on Porter’s 3-pointers was the biggest money winner for bettors of any NBA player props from games that evening.

Porter played 19 minutes two days later and scored 12 points with 7 rebounds and 3 assists.

On March 20 against the Sacramento Kings, Porter played just three minutes before exiting because of what the Raptors said was an illness and did not return. He did not score after attempting one shot and had two rebounds.

Sportsbooks had his over/unders set at around 7.5 points and 5.5 rebounds.

That… does not look good, but it gets worse. Adam Laskaris of Daily Hive did a deep dive into gambling activity from accounts Porter ran. Included were details on a Twitter account, @TayTrades11, where Porter tweeted about gambling lines and cryptocurrency.

How do we know it was Porter? Well, because he wanted to make sure people were following his… real alternate gambling account, not an imposter:

On that account, Porter tweeted about “EZ parleys” (sic) that he took part in, and also ran a discord server for “The Financial Cloud” where subscribers could apparently pay for financial advice on… bets, cryptocurrency and other such wise investments:

This is all pretty damning, but Porter’s alleged player prop improprieties aren’t what’s important here. Yes, the NBA will probably make an example out of him because he is on the fringes of the league anyway so they can drop the hammer on him with little business downside to try and dissuade other players, and yes, his alleged conduct would obviously be a terrible look for the integrity of the game, and yes, it seems idiocy may run in the family.

But the real thing worth pointing out here is that something like this was obviously going to happen at some point as these leagues get more involved with gambling companies and sports betting becomes more and more out in the open, and easier and easier to access (Here is where perhaps I should note, editorially, that SB Nation is a DraftKings partner).

We are seeing it in the MLB right now with the Shohei Ohtani situation, and now in the NBA with Porter. The NFL has already had to hand out gambling suspensions, too. Did we all really expect hyper-competitive athletes to see how betting-infused sports have become — with every studio show seemingly now having a segment sponsored by a gambling company on over/unders and other such prop bets, and ESPN even starting its own sportsbook — and not want to compete in the action themselves, given that its legally accessible with a few swipes on their smartphones in nearly every state they play in?

There has long been a commonly accepted idiom in the world that “sunlight is the best disinfectant” on matters like this. NBA commissioner Adam Silver alluded to it in his 2014 editorial for The New York Times, writing “I believe that sports betting should be brought out of the underground and into the sunlight where it can be appropriately monitored and regulated.” Now, in the case of allegations like those facing Porter, a Silver advocate could argue that regulation (apparently) did its job here. But are we really arguing that this is better? That situations like this being caught is going to make people trust the outcomes of these games more?

I certainly don’t think so, so maybe it’s time for an addendum to that long-accepted wisdom. Maybe sunlight is not actually the best disinfectant. Maybe disinfectant is. After they’re done with Porter, Ohtani and whatever other scandals will inevitably crop up in the weeks and months to come, maybe all these sports leagues should investigate that next.

Because in this climate, they’re all certainly getting dirty.

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