The minute you set foot on a college campus, the incessant reminders begin. Watch what you put on social media. Future employers will check your Facebook or Twitter accounts. Don’t tweet anything offensive. The message is driven home especially hard to athletes, who pose as a public face of their universities.
So, I guess you can’t blame Jarred Cosart for the gambling firestorm he created with Major League Baseball. He was drafted out of high school, and obviously missed the memo that anything you do, say, or tweet online can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion. Earlier this week, the Miami Marlins starter got himself in a conversation with one @Ghostfadekillah, an anonymous Twitter tipster who frequently tweets out gambling advice.
Here is the conversation. Of course, Mr. Ghostfade had the presence of mind to black out his part of the conversation.
Lol @JarredCosart pic.twitter.com/GfMd4s7i7j
— Ghostfade Killah (@ghostfadekillah) March 25, 2015
Now, Cosart is the subject of a league investigation into his alleged gambling involvement. Baseball’s Rule 21, made famous by the banned Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson states, “Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform, shall be declared ineligible for one year. Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.”
The rule does not apply to gambling on other sports, although the legality of sports gambling is still up in the air in the opinion of the Federal government. For his part, Cosart appears to be cooperating with the league in this matter, stating, “Obviously, I was caught off guard by the whole situation. I’m following the MLB protocol and talking with MLB security, and they’re taking care of it. I’m putting everything in their hands, and when we know something else, we’ll let everybody know.”
Cosart completed the classic move of deleting his Twitter account following the release of the screenshot. His intentions when deleting the account were good, but all this does is throw up more red flags. To add insult to injury, an impostor account popped up almost immediately to claim that Cosart’s real account had been hacked. Cosart has firmly stated that this new account is not associated with him in any way, and has made no attempt to deny that he is the person involved in the conversation with the gambler.
The more interesting person in this case, is Mr. Killah himself. The bio for @ghostfadekillah reads as follows, “Tennis, NBA/NFL first quarters and MLB first innings. Also troll a bit here and there.” Ghostfade has 1,229 followers. His reach is obviously global.
I do not know who is responsible for managing the Ghostfade Killah account. They are anonymous, as the law necessitates most gamblers to be. Tweeting the direct message from Cosart was a shameless attempt to gain more followers and draw attention to their sorry Internet gambling prediction account. As I wrote this article, I did give the Killah profile a view. I am sorry I did. It is nothing but gibberish, vulgarity, and retweets of other gambling accounts. I saw no real evidence of talent as a prognosticator. If it is gambling advice Cosart is looking for, he was probably barking up the wrong tree.
In the day and age in which we live, athletes must be incredibly careful on social media. Cosart is not the first athlete to fall prey to a Twitter opportunist, and he will not be the last. This pathetic would-be tout saw his opportunity for one shot at glory and hit send. I am sure he did not consider the farther reaching consequences. If you want to curry favor as a tout, and develop a relationship with high level clients, it is probably not the best idea to showcase a bad case of indiscretion, but if all you want to do is tweet your gambling picks from your couch, then maybe this was the right course of action to take.
If athletes want to gamble, they will continue to find ways to do so. It is within their right to do so as lawfully as possible as long as they stay away from their own sport. It’s March. The only thing Cosart was betting large on was March Madness, as I do not take him to be a sophisticated gambler looking for deep value in international tennis tournaments (interestingly enough, possibly the most corrupt area of professional sports). Personally, I feel there are probably much safer ways to invest your money and avoid becoming the subject of the next 30 for 30 Broke, but to each their own.
The Internet is a weird and lawless place. A faceless troll with a bastardized custom Wu-Tang logo now has the power to generate an MLB investigation into the activities of one of its players. This matter should pass quickly, unless of course Cosart was committing the cardinal baseball sin of betting on baseball. The curious case of Jarred Cosart and Ghost Fade Killah will pass quickly through the news media cycle, but it must serve as a constant reminder that any interactions you have online can be turned on their head and used against you.