THE COUCH SLOUCH

If you bet on Roger Goodell completely changing his stance on gambling, cash your ticket

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Money never sleeps, correct? Well, the sun never sets on the sports-betting empire either. What, there are no games right now? Recently, Bovada started allowing action junkies to place bets on the weather – that's right, over/under wagers on the high temperature of, say, Philadelphia.***

Gambling never sleeps.

Which immediately brings us to Roger Goodell, the man who pimps for the National Football League at $40 million-plus per annum and a man who probably sleeps in his Armani suit to remind himself that there is moolah to be made every day and twice on Sundays.

While America snoozed during the early days of the coronavirus crisis in mid-March, NFL players approved the new collective bargaining agreement with league owners through 2030. And in that CBA, the NFL – that beacon of morality fighting against the point spread since the days before Pete Rozelle turned 21 – reached an accord with its players to share gambling revenue.

Before we get back to that betting blockbuster, let's briefly review the current NFL commissioner's public-stance history vis-à-vis gambling.

Ooh, this is going to be fun!

In 2003, Goodell and the NFL would not allow the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau to run a 30-second commercial promoting the city's tourism during the Super Bowl.

In 2009, Goodell wrote a letter to then-Delaware Gov. Jack Markell in protest of his state's effort to renew its NFL betting lottery, saying, "By legalizing sports betting it will be in Delaware's interest to create ever larger numbers of new gamblers as the state attempts to maximize any revenue found in this promotion. The negative social impact of additional gambling cannot be minimized in a community."

In 2012, as the NFL challenged efforts by New Jersey to legalize sports gambling, Goodell said, "It's a very strongly held view in the NFL, it has been for decades, that the threat that gambling could occur in the NFL or fixing of games or that any outcome could be influenced by the outside could be very damaging to the NFL and very difficult to ever recover from."

In 2017, after league owners voted approval of the Raiders' move from Oakland to Las Vegas, Goodell said, "Society in general has a little bit of a change with respect to gambling in general. We've seen that. I think we still strongly oppose legalized sports gambling. The integrity of our game is No. 1. We will not compromise on that."

And now, in 2020, Goodell, on a visit to Las Vegas, said, "We think that sports gambling in many ways creates a lot more engagement for our fans. It gives them another opportunity to engage with the game."

Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, Roger Goodell is a BORN-AGAIN GAMBLER!

How did this happen? Well, a Supreme Court ruling nearly two years ago opened the door for states to allow sports betting and the Raiders begin play in Las Vegas this fall, so, suddenly, the NFL stance is: Let's roll the dice and join the party!!!

Which brings us back to the new CBA. David Purdum of espn.com reported last week that the agreement refers to revenue from "gambling on any aspect of NFL games, any performance of NFL players in NFL games or in any other NFL/Club-related activity." Owners and players will share revenues, the CBA states, generated "by the operation of gambling-related businesses located in or physically attached to an NFL Stadium."

It even mentions potential profits from slot machines "located in or physically attached to an NFL Stadium."

I'll let you all absorb that for a moment or two.

After generations of stonewalling and bad-mouthing sports betting, the NFL now embraces gambling as long as the league gets its cut. Seventeen states, including seven that are home to NFL teams, already operate legal sports books.

Sooner or later, fans will be placing bets on NFL games while in NFL stadiums.

P.S. The NFL reportedly also is looking to hire a "vice president of sports betting."

I am available, but I do not work weekends.

(*** Pro tip: It's always going to be hotter than you think in Philly in the summer and colder than you think in the winter.)

Ask The Slouch

Q. With strip clubs closed, strippers in Portland, Ore., are making food deliveries topless. Did you think nothing positive could come out of this pandemic? (Jim O'Brien; Racine, Wis.)

A. You have inspired me – I am writing next week's column bottomless.

Q. If I told you that President Trump reached out to Alex Rodriguez last week for coronavirus advice, what would you say? (Julian Kaplan; Chicago)

A. I did not realize that human growth hormone was a possible vaccine for covid-19.

Q. So everyone now is sitting around watching TV all day. Why are you getting paid for it? (Mark Cohen; Gibsonia, Pa.)

A. You have uncovered my adult-lifelong professional scam to financial independence.

Q. Since this was supposed to be the start of the baseball season, are the Orioles already mathematically out of it? (Mike Kupiec; Green Island, N.Y.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!



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Houston loses in San Francisco

Astros drop back-and-forth middle game to Giants to even series

Houston's offense couldn't keep up with the Giants on Saturday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With the impressive win in the opener to start the series, the Astros entered Saturday's middle game against the Giants with an opportunity to not just secure the series but surpass San Francisco for the best record in the league. They'd have to wait to take that crown, as the Giants would out-slug the Astros to even the series.

Final Score: Giants 8, Astros 6

Astros' Record: 64-41, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jay Jackson (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Blake Taylor (2-3)

Teams trade blows early, Giants chase Greinke out early

The teams traded blows early in this one, with the Giants tagging Zack Greinke with six runs, all on homers. The first was a solo shot in the bottom of the second to start the scoring before hitting one in each inning through the fourth: two-run blasts in the third and fourth, then a go-ahead solo shot in the bottom of the fifth, putting them ahead 6-5 at the time. Greinke would face one more batter, allowing a single to end his lackluster day: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 4 HR, 93 P.

Houston's offense kept things close to try and keep Greinke in a position to win, going up 3-1 in the third on a two-run Aledmys Diaz homer and another coming in on an error. After San Francisco scored four unanswered to make it 5-3, Diaz homered again in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to one run before Yuli Gurriel would tie it with an RBI double.

Astros stay in it, but Giants even the series by winning the slug-fest

With Greinke exiting with no outs in the fifth, Houston handed the ball to Phil Maton, acquired in the recent Myles Straw trade, to make his debut for his new team. He worked himself into a jam, allowing a single and hitting a batter to load the bases with one out, but was able to get back-to-back strikeouts to strike out the side and strand all three runners, keeping it a one-run game.

That proved pivotal in the top of the sixth, as with two outs, Martin Maldonado would launch a game-tying solo homer, making it 6-6. Blake Taylor took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the inning but would face just three batters, getting two outs while leaving one on as Dusty Baker moved on to Cristian Javier. Javier would watch the Giants retake the lead, getting back-to-back singles to bring in a run and make it 7-6.

Javier stayed in the game in the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff single but erasing it by striking out the next three batters. Still a 7-6 game in the bottom of the eighth, Yimi Garcia made his Astros debut but did not keep the score there, allowing a leadoff solo homer to make it a two-run game. The 8-6 score would go final as Houston's offense came up empty again in the top of the ninth, setting up a rubber game in the finale.

Up Next: The series finale will get underway at 3:05 PM Central on Sunday in San Francisco. Luis Garcia (7-5, 3.19 ERA) will take the mound for Houston, going opposite Logan Webb (4-3, 3.36 ERA) for the Giants.

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