CBC – Three Olympic boxers — including one who bet on himself to lose — received “severe reprimands” on Wednesday for betting on fights during last month’s Rio de Janeiro Games.
Ireland’s Michael Conlan and Steve Donnelly and Britain’s Antony Fowler were censured by the International Olympic Committee for violating anti-betting rules.
None of the three won medals in Rio, although Irish amateur champion Conlan lost in the quarter-finals in a disputed decision to Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin. Donnelly bet against himself in a first-round bout but still won the fight.
Never mind the International Olympic Committee and their “severe reprimands.” I’ve got a much more serious bone to pick with Michael Conlan. Because it’s people like him that give us Irish a bad name.
Look, I have no issues with a guy throwing a fight. First of all, Olympic boxing is the biggest joke in all of sports. It’s notoriously corrupt, even by the standard of the IOC, which is saying something. And fixing fights is a time-honored tradition, from Marlon Brando in “On the Waterfront” to Bruce Willis in “Pulp Fiction” to real life. So I have no problem with a guy trying to make a few bucks for himself in an already rigged game. Any dope who bought a ticket to the boxing in Rio thinking it’s on the level deserves to get ripped off.
But if you’re going to take a dive, take the damned dive. Betting against yourself then winning the fight is the kind of stupidity that gives us all a bad name. In fact, it sounds like an ethnic joke. “Did you hear about the Irish boxer who bet against himself and won?” It’s the worst thing that’s happened to any nationality since the time Raiders’ kicker Sebastian Janikowski rufied himself. So thanks for nothing, Conlan. You’ve set our people back a generation.