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"Larceny Games: Sports Gambling, Game Fixing and the FBI" by Brian Tuohy
A book like no other: Mentioning the corrupt side of sports and providing the FBI files to prove it.
"Don't write this book. This is not for the faint of heart. They are going to fucking kill you if they can. -Dan Moldea" (Quoted by Tuohy, 2013, p.9)
I suppose by writing this book review, all sports leagues are going to kill me, are they? If that's the case, then I have no reason to fear the IRS, CIA, DEA, FBI and all other major intelligence agencies who can secretly track my every move and pin me down the moment I do something illegal. Nope. It's the NFL I should fear most. Expressing vile disgust toward a billion-dollar company has consequences, as opposed to insider trading, murder or victimizing millions by hacking into their personal/credit information. Doing a sincere (if you want to call it that way) favor for gullible sports fans, reminding them that the "big game" is still "just a game," will certainly put my life and my job in jeopardy, instead of 'whistleblowing' or having possession of illegal drugs, because it's less threatening than telling folks the NBA is the most corrupt league anyone can/will ever watch (yes, I used to be a huge NBA fan). In that case, let us continue.
After author Tuohy made mention in a radio interview that various sports fans couldn't take in the belief the corruption in sports from his previous book The Fix Is In, his second book Larceny Games is a response to all those doubters. To me, The Fix Is In felt like hearing from a friendly sports fan, but breaking the news that you shouldn't believe everything you see in sports, while enjoying your good company and a brisk glass of beer. However, here on Larceny Games, Tuohy sounds like that big authority figure, looking to slash you with reality, as if believing everything in sports is against the law while your fate lies in his hands knowing you're now in deep trouble. I don't blame Brian; Sports fans still can't take in such fact, nor could they accept it. Some think supernatural forces control the outcomes of games—if that's the case, then there exists a unicorn who can speak five languages in one sentence.....backwards.
No joke: Tuohy harshly presents more dirt and truth about the sports world. Although it may at times feel like a list of police/FBI reports, the names of famous athletes, coaches, referees and even "champion worthy" teams are guaranteed to shock many. That previous sentence may sound like a marketing plug but it's really not. The athlete whom you thought was a saint is/was actually the devil. Getting caught in a ruckus riled with money, debt, gambling, women, business and connections to gangsters and drug dealers, I'm certain some of these athletes are featured on the posters you taped up in your living room and/or bedroom.
As advertised, Tuohy has included quotes from FBI files he personally obtained from the Freedom of Information Act. Some quotes from the files have [redacted] on them but still worth a look. In fact, having tied up the dirty story behind some of these athletes, Tuohy was able to identify their names and replaced the [redacted] with [redacted — Hornung], for example. So yes, some FBI files with names, places, locations and occupations blocked, the author was able to unlock some of the redacted words.
Still not convinced? Then take this: After the release of this book, Tuohy's bit about the New York Knicks shaving off points to make their cocaine dealer smile inflicted a scar on the Knicks organization, the NBA and ESPN, thanks to the New York Post, as the article went viral in an instant. The newspaper company quoted and made mention of this book you're reading my review of, and the FBI gave the nod confirming the authenticity of the files stamped in the book. Others like Business Insider, Sports Illustrated, ProBasketballTalk (NBC Sports), CBS Local (New York), FOX Sports (MSN), heck, even GameFAQs discussed and made mention of this story. Seems to me Knicks and Knick fans may feel a decline in optimism about their team. If you're still doubtful, despite having read this far, then how could a team be a championship contender with a player, like Raymond Felton, yawning during the huddle? Where's the determination? Where's the spirit? Now that the Knicks landed Phil Jackson, at the time of this writing, would that guarantee the likelihood of winning the gold? Suppose they do, does that mean sports is real, and Knicks are a trustworthy organization after all? Not even close.
Interviewing gamblers, former FBI agents, sports authors and more, all lay in their take in the world of sports, how high the corruption is, athletes paying back their bookies, organized crime, thoughts on games being fixed and the leagues themselves, and a small debate about legalizing sports gambling. There are a ton of names mentioned and a chunk of information to take in, but it's all for the goodness of this book and you yourself. Include that with never-before-released FBI files and you've got a dish you'll never find in the longevity of humankind—all in a good way.
There was a small mention on the NHL and a little on college, but the mid- to later chapters cover the major sports: baseball, basketball, boxing, soccer (on the chapter "International Game Fixing") and America's favorite: football (spanning over 80 pages on the NFL, reporting teams like the former Houston Oilers and the Kansas City Chiefs). What more would you want, signing a draft pick to help *your* team get better? Please....
With the increase of videos on YouTube talking about games being rigged in the NFL, NBA and some in the MLB and NHL, and blogs spreading the word and analyzing suspicious plays/calls, people are getting a clearer picture of the nature of sports, thanks to books like these. As this increase will continue to sky-rocket when a league's new season is about to premiere, the word is getting out and video proof/replays and GIFs are being shared online, proving the bad officiating, unusual rewinding/forwarding of the game clock, alleged "magnets" in the puck, weird ball behavior of the pitches, slight air deflation of the game basketball and the "down by contact" call when it was obviously a fumble. If sports fans think missing calls is human, so is lying (ask any criminal psychologist). You don't need any Hollywood award for good acting if you know how to lie to people (likely why door-to-door salesmen and infomercials are still around). And if that's something these leagues perfected, well, they succeeded as sports are one of the largest industries in the world.
Don't feel bad if you wished you knew earlier (I was an obsessive sports fan as well—namely basketball and some hockey). Erase all the doubts and the nagging from other fans: get this book. Not all athletes are angels, every money wagered on sports goes "somewhere" and why some teams are meant to lose but not by too much (you'll learn terms and phrases like "point spread," "beard," "cover," "off the boards" and a ton more). Also, you'll learn about the passing of the Sports Bribery Act of 1964 (Search "Carl Mayer Spygate lawsuit").
As said by Tuohy on his page about him being censored by the sports media (you can read it here), this book is it, compared to his previous book. The information in Larceny Games is so sensitive and more scary to even share and report. That Knicks story is a perfect example; Later then, the Ali-Liston boxing match also shed some light about boxing. In the words of California Lottery's old slogan goes, "Who's Next?" Catch up on the 'conspiracies' people have been talking about, assuming you were perplexed by the 2013-2014 NFL's worst officiated season and the SuperBowl, with this book. It'll only do you good.
"'Has there been fixes?' pondered Larry Grossman, author of the sports gambling how-to book You Can Bet On It. 'I don't know. I would say, if I had a yes or no, I would say "yes." Look, how much shit goes on that nobody ever hears about? So to think that [the sports leagues] are purely without any kind of black mark is naïve. Before Donaghy was caught, was anybody talking about refs doing any kind of shenanigans? "Oh, no, that couldn't happen." Then all of a sudden Donaghy did it and people are saying, "Wow. Maybe that could happen."' Spurred on by the idea, Grossman continued, 'There's a lot of different ways to do it [fix a game]. There's no question in my mind that it can be done. There's really very little question in my mind that it has been done. But look, you can't prove it. I could never tell you this game was fixed or that game was fixed, but it's hard for me to believe that there are no shenanigans going on whatsoever. People just, like I say, they have larceny in their souls.'" (Grossman interviewed by Tuohy, 2013, p.52)
"'People say "you can't fix a game,"' laughed Scott Schettler. 'That's nutty. Of course you can fix a game! You can get to anybody.' When asked if there were times during his tenure at the Stardust that certain bets and outcomes raised suspicions, he replied, 'Yeah. After the fact. We'd be overloaded on a game and we'd sit there and watch it on TV and all of a sudden you see the quarterback throw the ball into the linebacker's hands. There are things that happen after the fact. We weren't too worried about it before the fact. Except in horse racing. With horse racing, you really had to be on your toes. But sports, there's so much money involved, if you were going to fix a game, you'd spread the money around and a fixed game just blended in with everything else. Even if they said, "Yeah, we fixed it, you're not going to get your money back, blah, blah, blah," at the end of the year, it wouldn't even matter.'" (Schettler interviewed by Tuohy, 2013, p.54)
"One of the defenses each league employs in watching for fixed games is to monitor the betting lines. This is especially true in the NBA and the NFL. In the case of the NFL, this watchdog action dates back to the late 1940s. As former NFL and AFL owner Harry Wismer wrote, '[NFL commissioner Bert] Bell...[hired] an investigating force of former FBI men to concentrate on gamblers and report to them anything that might involve the league. Bell, unlike some baseball magnates, didn't bother to have the players trailed. Instead, he had his staff frequent the haunts of the bookies and gamblers to find out firsthand if any players, coaches, or owners were associating with them....'" (Tuohy, 2013, p.58)
"I cannot find a single instance of law enforcement praising a league—be it the NFL, NBA or MLB—for its assistance in a criminal investigation regarding one of its players or personnel. Perhaps these types of comments do not make news reports. Perhaps their cooperation is simply understood. Yet the leagues never appear to be the source of any deeper, penetrating law enforcement investigation of one of their own. If league security exists to protect the integrity of the game, why is this true? Why was it when Tim Donaghy was brought in the FBI for gambling on NBA games did the league seemed shocked by the revelation? Same goes in the case of former player and then-current Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach Rich Tocchet, who was arrested for running a bookmaking ring which booked bets from NHL players. Why didn't NHL security know this before law enforcement too him into custody (and why did the NHL allow him right back into the league as head coach of the Tampa Bay Lighting)?.....This then begs the question of what really is the security division's purpose? Is it to protect the integrity of the game, or simply the appearance of the integrity of the game?" (Tuohy, 2013, p.66-67)
"By then the network of informants and bookies the FBI established at the time of the passage of the Sports Bribery Act had faded away as over 20 years passed since it was first organized. Even during this heyday, the FBI had more pressing issues to contend with than whether or not last night's Celtics game was fixed. President John F. Kennedy, his brother Robert, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were all assassinated. Riots were occurring in major cities across America. College-aged radicals and hippies were challenging both the police and the status quo. The Watergate break-in took place. President Nixon resigned. The Cold War was ongoing. And organized crime seemed to have its dirty paws in every scam and crime committed. Despite the Wire Act, despite the Sports Bribery Act, where did the FBI's attention needed to be focused? On a fixed NFL game, or on something more urgent and of true national importance?" (Tuohy, 2013, p.78)
"[Author Aaron] Skirboll wrote, 'Despite the fact that no players were set to be arrested in Pittsburgh, one thing became clear to the agents as their investigation unfolded: cocaine was the first thing many of these players thought about in the morning and was at the forefront of their daily activities. While [FBI agent] Ross was amazed to learn what was really going on in baseball, [FBI] Agent Craig found it unnerving. He certainly wasn't surprised that players were using drugs, but he was shocked at the scope and extent of it'" (Quoted by Tuohy, 2013, p.81)
"Face it: boxers box because of the paycheck attached to each fight. Most come from poor socioeconomic backgrounds. There haven't been many champions toting a degree from Harvard or Yale alongside their spit bucket. If a better opportunity or more money awaits a loss rather than a win, it may be too tempting to pass up no matter the fighter's commitment to his craft." (Tuohy, 2013, p.94)
"[redacted], former manager of several Chicago boxers, who was at ringside at Lewiston, Maine, reported Liston appeared sluggish and dazed during the approximate 25 minutes in the ring prior to the actual bout. [redacted] theorized Liston may have been under the influence of a narcotic or similar substance...." (FBI file quoted by Tuohy, 2013, p.131)
"Baseball's distant cousin cricket isn't free from corruption either. In February 2011, three members of the Pakistani cricket team and an agent were arrested after a sting operation conducted by the New of the World. However, the players of the Pakistani team weren't game fixing per se. They were bribed to spot-fix. The difference is slight but perhaps more dangerous. While game fixing often pertains to either outright losing a game o at least losing via the point spread, spot-fixing is much more subtle. Often in a spot-fix, a player (or referee) is paid to foul at a certain time. Because in the sports gambling world one can wager on nearly anything within a game, gamblers can even bet on when or if a player, for example in soccer, earns a yellow or red card in a match. A player or referee obviously has control over such a foul. Therefore, a sly gambler with an inside edge can make money betting on such an occurrence. The Pakistani team was paid by undercover reporters to foul—bowl no balls—at three specific times in their match against England, which they did. The four faced charges of conspiracy to obtain and accept payments as well as conspiracy to cheat." (Tuohy, 2013, p.151-152)
"ESPN seems to prefer protecting professional sports rather than prosecuting them, as the former is much more profitable than the latter." (Tuohy, 2013, p.161)
"An untallied amount of money spent on tickets, concessions, and even wagers was robbed from honest fans conned into watching falsified games. What compensation is coming to them for the loss of their time and money? How many childhood dreams have been crushed by the revelation of these fixed matches? How many have turned their back on what was once thought to be a pure sport? The biggest question of all is: Does FIFA even care?" (Tuohy, 2013, p.176)
"One of the caveats in Commissioner Landis' original banishment of the Black Sox was that players didn't have to participate in fixing a game; they would be kicked out of baseball merely for being in a room where such a plan was discussed if they then didn't inform the league. In other words, pick the wrong friends a player might be looking for a new career." (Tuohy, 2013, p.195)
"The NFL's popularity swelled in post-World War II America for two main reasons: television and gambling." (Tuohy, 2013, p.293)
"This September 15, 1968 game between Kansas City and New York was allegedly fixed by members of the Chiefs working in cooperation with a New Orleans gambler." (Tuohy, 2013, p.328)
"Also in 1977, the NFL investigated ten members of the Miami Dolphins for their association with a suspected bookmaker named J. Lance Cooper who had been arrested in 1976 along with four other bookmakers. The problem for the NFL was that Cooper had the names of Dolphins starting quarterback Bob Griese, his backup Earl Morrall, defensive end Bill Stanfill, and Dolphins head coach Don Shula in his address book." (Tuohy, 2013, p.338)
"'The NFL is just totally full of shit I remember when they asked Rozelle, if he could pull a handle and all sports betting, all football betting would be stopped immediately and never happen again, would he pull the handle? And he never answered the question.' Grossman was right. Rozelle was asked on NBC's NFL '85 pregame show on November 17, 1985, if a 'magic button' existed that could stop gambling on NFL games, would he push it? He 'danced' around the question without giving a definitive answer. 'Many, many, many people watch football just because of the gambling,' Grossman continued. 'They wouldn't watch it to the extent they watch it now, by any means. It's not even close. I mean, when a team's leading 17-7 and there's three minutes left and there's a touchdown point spread and you're holding your audience for the advertisers on television, why are they holding the audience? They're holding the audience because everybody's involved in the point spread. The outcome is done. It's just ludricrous to think that football would be anywhere near as successful as gambling. Anybody that believes that is an idiot. I have no respect for them whatsoever. And they can lie through their teeth and they can say whatever they want. It's not the truth. And that's all there is to it. They want to hold their audience. They want to keep their fourth-quarter advertisers happy. Why is the point spread in every newspaper in the country? It's only legal in Nevada. Why does everybody talk about it? Why are there television shows about the point spread? It's absurd. As soon as the Super Bowl game's announced, they ask what the number is. Everybody wants to know.'" (Grossman interviewed by Tuohy, 2013, p.350)
"The sports gamblers neither care about nor watch for fixed games. The legal sports books don't even consider the possibility of a fixed game. The sports media isn't investigating for fixed games. The FBI has given up, no longer even possessing a designation within its file system for sports bribery, and only pursues such cases if they fall into their lap. All have reasons why they should continue to be vigilant, but each has built-in excuses to let someone else be a watchdog for trusting fans. Yet with all of the finger-pointing between these entities, no one has pulled their head out of the sand to actually take the burden onto their shoulders and do the work." (Tuohy, 2013, p.354)
- Possibly a book you'd never want to carry around at sports stadiums.
- The report on the New York Knicks shaving points for their cocaine dealer went viral.
- Perfect book for those pursuing law and criminal justice.
- Reads like a crime documentary aired on channels like Investigation Discovery.
- The information provided may be too much to consume for the average reader.
|Title||Larceny Games: Sports Gambling, Game Fixing and the FBI|
|Author(s)||Brian Tuohy (thefixisin.net | larcenygames com | disastergovernment com)|
|Description||Sports and gambling are two of America's favorite pastimes. When combined they create a volatile cocktail. Larceny Games provides the intimate details of those who have thrown games for the benefit of gamblers—and why the sports leagues have covered-up these incidents.
Based on over 400 previously unreleased FBI files, this book reveals more dirt on professional sports within its pages than ESPN has broadcast throughout the entirety of its existence.
|Book Dimensions||Width: 5.50″ (5 ½″)|
|Height: 8.50″ (8 ½″)|
|Depth: 0.75″ (¾″)|
|Contents||Introduction, The Saga of Tim Donaghy, So You Want To Be A Professional Sports Gambler, A Good Defense, Boxing, International Game Fixing, Baseball, Basketball, Football, Conclusion, Acknowledgements, Works Cited, Index|
|Designed by||Gregory Flores|
|Published||September 10, 2013|
|Publisher||Feral House (www.feralhouse.com)|
|Copyright||Larceny Games © 2013 by Brian Tuohy|
|Printed in||United States of America|
|Book Format||Paperback, Kindle, NOOK Book (eBook), ePub|
|Quoted Reviews||"Brian Tuohy examines the connections between big-time sports, big-money gambling and organized crime, digging through previously unreleased FBI case files to pose hard questions and draw disturbing conclusions." Patrick Hruby, Sports On Earth
"If you've lost money gambling on games, there's a reason. If you've won, read this before you put down your next bet. For his own good, Tuohy probably shouldn't have written this book." Howard Schlossberg, Columbia College, Chicago
"Once again, Brian shows there's much more to professional sports than meets the eyes (or ears), He digs so deep that he'll need a bodyguard!" Sam Bourquin, Host, WHBC, Ohio
|Best Seller's List||--|
|Other||Brian Tuohy is considered to be America's leading expert on game fixing in sports. While Larceny Games discusses game fixing from a sports gambling aspect, his previous book The Fix Is In: The Showbiz Manipulations of the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NASCAR examined how the professional leagues influence the outcome of their own games for TV ratings and profit. He has appeared as a guest on over one hundred radio programs throughout the United States and Canada, and has spoken at Florida State University, Columbia College in Chicago, and at the 2012 AEJMC National Conference. Another book of Brian's based largely on government files, Disaster Government: National Emergencies, Continuity of Government and You, was published in 2013.
For more, visit: TheFixIsIn.net, DisasterGovernment com, or LarcenyGames com
|Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data||???|
|LC Control Number||???|
|LC Call Number||???|
|DDC Call Number||???|
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