Notes on a scandal II
“All the agents are calling me, and Roger’s lawyers are calling me telling me that match fixing is the worst thing you can be accused of in tennis, and it’s all a lie,” Forstmann said in an interview.
Read more: Business Insider
I really didn’t want to make this into a thing.
It’s stupid. It’s pointless. And as with all faux-scandals, it’ll go away, leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouth but no mark on history. That’s what I think will ultimately happen, and so far, there has been no evidence to prove otherwise.
In a way, that’s the problem: there has been zero evidence. Yet the lack of actual facts hasn’t stopped the media from referring this case as “the Federer betting scandal”, “the Roger Federer/IMG gambling lawsuit” … just to name a few.
You don’t need me to tell you that there is something defamatory about these labels – they imply, among other things, that Federer was 1) betting and 2) party to a gambling lawsuit. Federer is neither. In fact, he’s not even a witness. He has no presence in the IMG-Agage dispute apart from a peripheral mention in Agate’s spill to TMZ.
Most people know, deep down, that Federer and Tiger Woods’ names were only dragged into this dispute to attract hits and media coverage. A dispute between IMG and one of its printing contractors is just not just sexy. Bring in two of the biggest names in sports and you’ve got yourself the eyes and ears of every news, entertainment and sports outlet under the sun. And you know in what circles IMG operate?
That’s right: news, entertainment and sports. Nicely played, Mr Agate.
But what evidence has subsequently been produced against Federer? And on what basis is the media reporting these groundless allegations as sensationalist “news” while at the same time covering their own asses by claiming that they see no merit in these claims?
Such is the hypocrisy.
We know that Forstmann (IMG) has admitted to betting on sports in a conflict of interest situations. We know that Agate, being the go-between for Forsyth and betting houses, is planning on milking this for all it’s worth. (Read: extortion)
So why shouldn’t we investigate Federer, as has been suggested? After all, the IMG conceded the other claims.
I can’t believe I’m actually bothering to rebut such a ridiculous proposition. Quite apart from the fact that – unless evidence is produced to the contrary – Federer is the victim of libel by both Agate and the sports media, NOT a suspect, there is actually court case going on.
If there is evidence, Agate will no doubt produce it in court and give the Tennis Integrity Unit some ACTUAL CAUSE to initiate a formal investigation. Why conduct two fact-findings? Especially when one of them is by a judicial system?
Suppose tennis went ahead with an investigation now and clears Federer, but the court finds IMG did have inside information? Or vice versa – tennis drags Federer’s name through the mud and declares him to be the root of all evil, but the court finds no evidence of the alleged IMG inside information? Whose findings do we trust? Does tennis’ investigatory mechanisms really outrank a judicial court’s fact-finding?
Three guesses as to my answer on that.
That is why we wait til the end of any impending court process. If not for any moralistic, meritorious reason – simply for a reason of practicality.
By the way, isn’t that EXACTLY what we did for Wayne Odesnik? The Tennis Integrity Unit waited until Odesnik was actually found guilty of HGH possession by the Brisbane Magistrates Court before starting their own fact-finding, and you know what? Odesnik was actually a defendant in the case, not just an innocent by-stander getting their name dragged in beyond their control.
Let’s look at the reality of this environment – tennis is a high profile sport, and when it comes to high profile, no one trumps Federer. Should an investigation be initiated tomorrow, how do we think it’s going to play out in the media? Will we get any balanced, cool-headed reporting? Or perhaps just general hysteria and dirt-digging?
Without an ounce of evidence against him, Roger Federer would be forced to defend his innocence against media tainting. The outcome would hardly matter – just like Davydenko’s little brush with notoriety, the process generated much hysteria, but the end result? No one cared.
And you know what? Federer might just be entitled to this little thing called the “presumption of innocence”, also known as “WHAT FUCKING RIGHTS do you have for implicating guilt on me so that ‘this sport’ can be seen as self-policing“?
And what would an investigation look like anyway:
“Mister Federer, could you tell us about what you were doing on the day of the Roland Garros 2007 final?”
“Umm … I think I was playing tennis.”
“Did you receive a phone call from Forstmann.”
“What did he say?”
“He said: hey Rog, good luck. (You know?) I hope you beat my other client Nadal. (You know?) Never liked the Spaniards much anyway. (You know?) Now I’m going to bet on you to win!”
“And what did you say?”
“I said (you know?) you made the right choice Teddy-bro. Because I got some inside info for ya. (You know?) I got Rafa all figured out. He totally told me that his knees were injured again, (you know?) nyahahaha…”
“Awesome! I’m going to up my bets then, on –
“Hey Teddy I’m happy for you and Imma let you finish, but I got more inside info for ya – I am THE GREATEST PLAYER OF ALL TIME. ALL TIME!”
Inside info, you haz it.