Professional athletes gambling while traveling is far from some new issue — what do you think Babe Ruth did to pass the time on train rides, read? Today, when players travel by charter plane, card game gambling is commonplace.
Fights over money won and lost are not uncommon (very few make it public).
The latest fight was between Memphis’ O.J. Mayo and Tony Allen, which led Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins to announce a ban on in-flight gambling, a team spokesman told the Associated Press Wednesday. Gambling in team hotels also has been banned.
Whether or not there had been an official ban, there was going to be no more gambling on flights, Grizzlies captain Rudy Gay said on the Jim Rome radio show.
“From now on, we’re playing Candyland,” Gay told Rome.
Banning gambling is a step several teams took in the wake of the Gilbert Arenas/Javaris Crittenton dispute last year that ended up with the gun incident in the Wizards locker room (and the ensuing suspensions).
The league is not going to mandate the action and apparently will not take action against the players, keeping this an internal team matter.
Mayo did not play Tuesday night for the Grizzlies, officially because of “bronchitis” but nobody actually believes that. He was either still injured — all reports are Allen got the best of the fight by far — or it was a team disciplinary action because Mayo is said to have been the instigator.
The next Grizzlies flight will be Friday.