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Bradley Beal Would Like Gambling-Related Insults Kept To A Minimum

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 18: Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards rests during a break in the game against the Sacramento Kings at Capital One Arena on March 18, 2023 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal sat for his end-of-season press conference on Monday, and he didn't have too many fun things to talk about. The Wizards just finished up their fifth consecutive season under .500, they don't really seem to have a path back to respectability, and Beal is now just one season into his five-year maximum contract with the team. All of this was reflected in Beal's demeanor and in his answer to reporters' questions.

Something else was eating at Beal, though. At one point he was asked about an incident that occurred after a road loss to the Orlando Magic on March 21. According to a police report filed the next day, Beal was heckled while leaving the arena by a fan who told him, "You fucked me out of $1,300, you fuck." Police say that Beal then walked over to the group of people that fan was with, knocked a hat off one of their heads, and said, "I don't give a fuck about none of your bets or your parlays, bro. That ain't why I play the game." Beal told reporters on Monday that he's noticed a "developing, ongoing nastiness" from fans over the last few years since sports gambling has been legalized in many states throughout the country.

Beal isn't the only athlete to have raised this issue recently. Kyrie Irving said in March that he felt sports gambling has "taken the purity and the fun away from the game at times"; Pascal Siakam went on Draymond Green's podcast last week and talked about fans acting crazy and wishing death on people because they lost a bet; in March, several college athletes spoke to ESPN about receiving abuse and death threats from fans who were angry about gambling losses. Athletes have been dealing with behavior like this from fans since way before sports gambling was legalized, though some did predict that things would only get worse once millions of fans fell into the ease of making legal bets on their phones.

The frustrating thing about wanting to talk about the bad effects that sports gambling has had on the industry it leeches from is that none of those effects, when taken on their own, seem like all that big of a deal. (Also, nobody wants to come off like a prude or a nerd.) Sure, it's annoying to have to hear about betting odds every time you watch a game now, but you can still watch the game. And yeah, it sucks when fans scream personal insults at athletes, but they were doing that long before anyone had a gambling app.

Beal himself seems to have adopted this conciliatory stance, even after having to deal with some jagoff yelling at him about a bet. "Nobody wants to lose money. I get it," he said on Monday. "I understand. I go to casinos, you know, I gamble, I understand that. But I also understand it's probably a 99 percent chance I'm going to lose all that shit."

I guess that's one solution to this particular problem: fans should simply understand that they are literally throwing away their money every time they place a bet, and therefore there's no reason to yell at anyone about it.

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