FanDuel - WFBC

February 12, 2006

Timing of Wiretap Backs Gretzky : The New Jersey Attorney General's Office and state police said Sunday the agencies would not comment on a pending criminal investigation. Yeah, now that they have released what appears to be false information (the wiretap in the last month was actually just a few days before and after the gambling investigation was revealed) and attempted their typical character assassination in the press, they finally say they are going to shut up.

posted by graymatters to hockey at 08:58 PM - 54 comments

That is great news! At least now we know when this "wiretap" happened, and Gretzky was telling the truth. This is also a big pick-me-up for the Canadian Olympic Team.

posted by wingnut4life at 09:21 PM on February 12

I love Wayne, he's my hero. He is a symbol of L.A. sports, he's shown on L.A. TV like everyday. I hope he does not become another Pete Rose. If the NHl makes amove against him, I will put on my Gretzky Kings jersey and Kings cap, and stand vigil outside Staples Center.

posted by Joe88 at 09:33 PM on February 12

I am letting out half a sigh of relief.

posted by chicobangs at 09:50 PM on February 12

whatever, his "good friend" was in it, "his wife" was gambling but he had no idea what was going on. All a bunch of BS. Must be nice to have sooo much money that you don't notice 100 grand missing here and there.

posted by chuy at 09:53 PM on February 12

if gretzky didn't know then he must be an idiot. This has cover-up written all over it

posted by Pens-rule at 10:22 PM on February 12

what's the pro sports community come to? it's O-K to do drugs sexually harass or rape women , but don't gamble.

posted by what the? at 10:24 PM on February 12

What do you mean, "come to?" It's always been like this. Always. Since Ancient Greece and before. Don't bemoan society's breakdown over this stuff. And chuy, there are enough prosecutors and investigators probing this on behalf of everyone concerned that if something has gone down, they'll find it. I know you-all will see exactly what you want to see and nothing else, but every little newsbite about this will come out one at at time. So save your moral high-horse outrage, or else you'll get tired of being angry at the decline of civilization long before the show trials start.

posted by chicobangs at 10:48 PM on February 12

Stop me if you heard this...."Pete rose and Wayne Gretzky walk into a bar..........."

posted by Grrrlacher at 12:02 AM on February 13

This whole thing makes me sick

posted by sirtt22 at 12:35 AM on February 13

So what we have here is one "inside source" saying that another "inside source" had the wrong information. And still, the media figures it's worth it to publish even more conjecture as news. You'd think the media would have learned their lesson with Richard Jewell. I guess not. if gretzky didn't know then he must be an idiot. This has cover-up written all over it I find it interesting that you make this assumption. Husbands and wives have been doing things behind each other's backs for centuries. Heck, I just purchased my wife's birthday gift (at a substantial cost) without her knowing. I used money I had been stashing away over a couple of months for just such a reason. The truth is, if you aren't looking for something, you often won't find it. Stop me if you heard this...."Pete rose and Wayne Gretzky walk into a bar..........." "...where they run into Alex Karras and Paul Hornung. Gretzky looks around and realizes he's in the company of people who bet on their own sport and are of poor character. Since he doesn't meet either of these requirements, he leaves."

posted by grum@work at 12:40 AM on February 13

Nobody can claim Wayne is innocent. Nobody can claim Wayne is guilty. One thing we all know for sure...the NHL will do whatever it takes to squash this thing or as Barney Fife says "Nip it...nip it in the bud".

posted by CountDracula58 at 12:48 AM on February 13

He is a symbol of L.A. sports In that he became famous some place, got imported to LA to finish his career and then left with an actress wife in tow?

posted by yerfatma at 06:22 AM on February 13

In that he became famous some place, got imported to LA to finish his career and then left with an actress wife in tow? He is the symbol of the NHL. Don't sound like a bitter old man. Everyone with any knowledge of the NHL knows about 99's pro career. if gretzky didn't know then he must be an idiot. This has cover-up written all over it I find it interesting that you make this assumption. Husbands and wives have been doing things behind each other's backs for centuries. Thank you, grum! Everyone seems to want to hang Wayne before they know all of the facts.

posted by wingnut4life at 07:00 AM on February 13

This looks better for Gretzky. New Jersey needs to get a hold on leaks, if they're serious about prosecuting this in a court instead of the media. If the bets really were hers, I find it hard to believe he wasn't aware of his wife's gambling simply because the wagers were going through one of his coaches.

posted by rcade at 07:09 AM on February 13

This goes to show that it doesnt pay to assume anything when a story breaks. I have said all along that we need wait for the whole story to come out.

posted by daddisamm at 07:49 AM on February 13

IMHO of course he knew his wife was gambling. How much she was gambling, or the connection to the mob through his assistant coach is another issue- but the fact is he is an obsever of the situation and in no criminal danger, nor in any morally compromised position. Has it occured to anyone that maybe Tocchet was pulling the wool over a lot of people's eyes? The old "Oh, you wanna make some bets on football? I know a guy, lemme set it up for ya." I also don't find it hard to believe that you can gamble away $500,000 of the Gretzky bank account without much fuss or attention.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:07 AM on February 13

IRS will be the ones who drop the hammer on the Gretzky's. All gambling wins are suppose to be reported as other income on the front of the tax return and an equal amount of losses can be claimed as an itemized deduction. The gross number that should have been reported may be very large. The $500k number being thrown around is only the net. If substantial the IRS has a potential tax fraud/evasion case. Maybe Janet can get Martha's old cell.

posted by sandman at 08:49 AM on February 13

He should have to buy Katrina evacuees(homeless) housing in the same amount that was gambled! He is spoiled and his wife should do community service at a soup kitchen for 10 hours a day 6 days a week.

posted by Jeepwaxer at 09:27 AM on February 13

hey Wayne ...WAKE UP....your wife and your assistant coach are involved in a gambling ring. Maybe there are some things going on that you should know about . If i were you i'd start asking some questions.

posted by Pens-rule at 09:42 AM on February 13

He was probbobly more involved with the owner of the kings than you think. Do not tell me he did not know what was going on, this would be silly. You do not miss that kind of money from your household. Not. He needs his goons from the oiler days to protect him now. Knowing his crybaby attitude about the olympics before he got his way, he will probably snitch on his wife if he had the chance. Gutless and definatley not the great one. They were named Howe and, Orr

posted by gdritsas at 09:50 AM on February 13

In my opinion Gretzky either knew about all this and is involved or his buddy is sexin up his wife when he's not around. I don't know exactly how aware Gretzky is about things but maybe somebody else is scoring a puck with his gal. Either way is embarassing.

posted by T$PORT4lawschool at 10:12 AM on February 13

Hmm, the reported facts can be summarized as "Wayne Gretzky's wife may have bet on some football games, and one of his co-workers is implicated as an organizer", but in here I see lots of "Gretzky's a scumbag and a liar", "Pete Rose of the NHL", and the like. Quite a leap. Maybe someone can post a link to their facts.... No? That's what I thought. Gretzky is not implicated in this, except by association. Also, if you read the article, you'd know that the bettors aren't necessarily in any trouble - it's the organizers of the ring they're after. "Strictly speaking, it is not a crime to place a bet, but NHL players would be violating league rules if they wagered on hockey games. There's no evidence of wagering on hockey, according to the former federal prosecutor investigating the allegations on behalf of the NHL." So until more facts come out that say otherwise, Gretzky's clean and y'all should stop with the bashing. Sandman, have you seen Jones' tax return? You know for a fact she did not declare her gambling income? Do you also expect her to report winnings from the Super Bowl (which she allegedly bet on and took place on Feb 5, 2006) on 2005's tax return? Might wanna think before you post, or word things a little more carefully. And Weedy's absolutely right. $100K to that family would be like me going to the ATM for a 20. Not really going to be missed. Besides that, it wouldn't surprise me if Wayne & Janet had separate bank accounts, accountants to keep track of it, file separate returns, etc. At that level of income, it wouldn't be hard to keep secrets like that. A lot of you are acting like it's so hard to cover stuff up. Haven't you people ever been lied to??? Or are you too naive to know about it? Enron's executives covered up billions of dollars in accounting fraud for years before they were caught. As grum said, if you aren't looking for something, you probably won't find it.

posted by cybermac at 10:16 AM on February 13

Janet Jones allegedly bet $100,000 on football games. I can't find anything on the Gretzkys' current net worth, but he was earning around $13 million a year in endorsements in the '90s, according to a 2003 LA Times article. $100,000 is around three-fourths of one percent of $13 million. So let's guess he earns at least that much today, from all income sources. If you were earning $50,000 a year and your spouse bet a proportional amount of your salary as Janet Jones, you'd be out $385.

posted by rcade at 11:11 AM on February 13

I'm not so worried about the NHL golden boy and his actress wife as I am Ricky T. I loved this guy, old timey player with a nose for the net and a willingness to mix it up if need be. 400+ goals, 2000+ PIMs, with numbers like that he could rape farm animals and I wouldn't have a problem with him. I love how this scandal comes out two weeks after I update my profile professing my love for Ricky.

posted by HATER 187 at 11:18 AM on February 13

cybermac, I think you need to reread my post. I did not come close to inferring I had viewed their returns, nor did I say anything about the 2006 superbowl earnings, nor did I mention anything about which years tax return the income should be reported. I thought my post was very general using the words may or if and in no way was it an allegation. You have every right to disagree with my comment and that is what is great about this forum but please critique what I actually wrote. You shot at me was about as accurate as Dick Cheney's shot.

posted by sandman at 11:24 AM on February 13

There's nothing speculative about the statement "IRS will be the ones who drop the hammer on the Gretzky's." Your comment made it sound as if you knew they hadn't reported gambling winnings as income.

posted by rcade at 11:25 AM on February 13

Yeah, what rcade said :) In my own defense, sandman, I actually read it a few times. Besides what rcade mentioned, the statement "The gross number that should have been reported...", sounds very definite to me. I actually wasn't taking a shot at you personally, just making a point that there's a lot of judging going on, without a lot of facts. And even the facts we do have aren't damning of Gretzky himself.

posted by cybermac at 11:49 AM on February 13

If you were earning $50,000 a year and your spouse bet a proportional amount of your salary as Janet Jones, you'd be out $385. Besides that, she probably has her own spending money. You know the royalties & endorsements are still pouring in from Police Academy 5.

posted by cybermac at 12:08 PM on February 13

I find the comparison between Gretzky & Rose to be kind of funny. Rose as manager bet on HIS sport, the Great One’s wife bet on another sport. It still wouldn’t even be close IF Wayne bet on Football. Oh my God people bet on sports……………..My local paper lists the line everyday! I understand why the league(s) have policies against gambling; to protect the common mans gambling interest. It would cause quite a ruckus if I had to go to my bookie & demand my money back because a game was “fixed” I really view this whole thing as a non-story.

posted by directpressure at 12:22 PM on February 13

Besides that, she probably has her own spending money. You know the royalties & endorsements are still pouring in from Police Academy 5. Ah, yes. The first Police Academy movie without the sophisticated comic stylings of Steve Guttenberg. It was all downhill from here.

posted by grum@work at 12:26 PM on February 13

I find the comparison between Gretzky & Rose to be kind of funny. Rose as manager bet on HIS sport, the Great One’s wife bet on another sport. NO athlete is supposed to get involved with gambling on professional sports, period. Do they? Yes, but it's a stupid decision (even if his wife is the guilty party). Now everyone will have that continued doubt in their mind over whether or not he was involved, and whether or not he (or she) bet on hockey. Also, if it's found Tocchet took bets on hockey, both of their reputations will take a severe hit. Some athletes have been involved with gambling and their sport has turned the other cheek (Jordan), but it remains the one off-limits activity nobody in this profession can afford to be involved with. As has been mentioned hundreds of thousands of times, Rose denied betting on baseball for quite some time until it was proven otherwise. I'm still having a hard time with the idea Janet Jones-Gretzky could develop this desire to bet on pro sports, decide to book bets with her husband's right-hand man, and Wayne knew nothing about it. Man, he must be seriously pissed at Tocchet.

posted by dyams at 01:37 PM on February 13

Anyone that does bet knows that hockey really isn’t the bettors’ sport of choice & damn near impossible to win your bet if you do. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why this isn’t a good situation but I haven’t heard of any connection to Wayne other than his wife’s’ involvement. Guilty by association, maybe. Really what is the harm if she did place some bets for him? (Of coarse not on Hockey) Probably the hardest sport too put the “fix” in anyway However I have not heard this mentioned at all, or anyone make that leap. I assume RT got involved something along the lines of “ I know a lot of people betting why shouldn’t I cover their action & reap the profits?” Bookies don’t really make or lose money covering the bets, so much, the money comes in the form of the” juice” or so I have been told. Still not much of a story other than the name recognition

posted by directpressure at 02:14 PM on February 13

Everyone here is assuming Janet lost the $100,000 she bet through Tocchet. The reports I've seen indicate that she won her Super Bowl wager. Even so, if $100K was spread over multiple smaller wagers, chances are she'd do close to 50/50 on her bets, and would have relatively smaller net wins/losses.

posted by rocket88 at 02:37 PM on February 13

Honestly, even if Wayne bet on Football who cares...he is Wayner. He should be able to bet on coyotes game for crying out loud. He is hockey. And besides, we are talking about Football, if you don't bet on it, it is not exciting enough to watch.

posted by Eddie66 at 04:45 PM on February 13

This is really pissing me off. And typically, I'm pretty go-with-the-flow. I'm not here to call Gretzky a saint - he is one of the biggest corporate schills in recent memory - but this is a guy that has devoted every single day of his life to his country and hockey. He, unlike, oh I don't know, everyone else, has never turned down his responsibility to the game - NHL, International, Junior, Pond, Inline, what have you (actually, he's probably a very boring guy - it's all hockey all the time) and we - the fans on this board, the media in general, couldn't wait to tear him down. And even after the police fucking fudge the timelines of the wiretap, decide to release ONE name to the media (Janet) and do their damndest to sully his good (and it is good) name; Even after he sits in front of the microphones and patiently answers the asinine questions (where I would be screaming blue); even after the facts still manage to make their way slowly to the surface.... ... You fucking morons either don't bother, or can't, read them. Just a bunch of slow-witted sheep. I really fucking mean it.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 06:19 PM on February 13

Weedy: Don't you think some of the hits Gretzky is taking are a consequence of his "I don't know, you'd have to ask her" comment when first asked about Janet gambling?

posted by rcade at 07:08 PM on February 13

Don't you think some of the hits Gretzky is taking are a consequence of his "I don't know, you'd have to ask her" comment when first asked about Janet gambling? rcade: That's exactly what the big problem is. I don't have any reason to want to see Gretzky trashed, but why is it that all athletes, when caught up in a sticky situation, have to spew out some canned response that their overpaid agent/attorney wants them to say? This situation makes it necessary for us to believe Gretzky didn't have any idea what his wife and assistant coach, the two people he probably spends the most time with (outside of his children), are doing? I have no doubt Gretzky will come out of this without any long-term problems, but he can't say contradicting things to different sources and then think it doesn't make him look bad, I don't care who he is.

posted by dyams at 07:37 PM on February 13

It's called making sure you don't incriminate yourself or anyone else, dyams. Any unrehearsed offhand remark can make an investigation into even a completely innocent person way worse. There are a million reasons people say "no comment," and it's often not because they have nothing to say. Put the wide brush away, dyams. Stop assuming guilt just because the feds leaked some unsupported (and, it turned out, dishonest) info on someone. And one thing I don't think you're getting is that he's not like everyone else. He's been in a 24-hour worldwide spotlight since he was 11 years old, and he's devoted every waking minute of his life since then to advancing the profile of his sport. No other athlete (this side of maybe Tiger Woods, maybe) can claim that level of devotion and selflessness. Weedy's 100% right. Wayne Gretzky deserves every ounce of the benefit of the doubt, and all the people going off half-cocked in this thread and elsewhere are just showing how poor their reading comprehension is, and how ignorant they really are of what Wayne has sacrificed for his sport, his country, and the teams to which he has belonged. If he's done something wrong, that's another story, but until there's absolute incontrovertible proof of wrongdoing, get off his cock.

posted by chicobangs at 08:45 PM on February 13

Did anyone catch that really pathetic question by one of the reporters during the press conference today? (paraphrased) "Do you have a comment about a story of you gambling heavily on trips to Las Vegas?" The look on Gretzky's face could be best translated as: "Are you a fucking idiot?" It's funny to hear that question as almost every single former teammate interviewed talked about how he was always the goody-two-shoes person on the team. He didn't even play cards for money on the team road trips, and usually left the bars at 11pm before "things got interesting".

posted by grum@work at 10:03 PM on February 13

There are a million reasons people say "no comment," and it's often not because they have nothing to say. Then maybe he should have said, "No comment" instead of saying "I don't know. You'd have to ask her." That sounds like he's a clueless schmuck that doesn't know what his significant other is doing, and is almost throwing her under the train. Stop assuming guilt just because the feds leaked some unsupported (and, it turned out, dishonest) info on someone. Assuming guilt? Who said he was guilty of anything? And, guilty of what? I never said that. Gretzky hasn't done anything illegal that I know of. I'm commenting on how he looks stupid, basically, because he has to look like he knows nothing about this thing. His wife won't be guilty of anything, either. Tocchet, on the other hand, should not receive any backing at this point from Gretzky, if he indeed does know something, because that guy, playing big-time booky while he's an assistant coach in the NHL, on Gretzky's team, needs to be cut loose. If Wayne was that concerned about his great friend, it may have been a good idea for him to share some of his Mr. Perfect advice and say, "This may not be a good thing for you to get involved in." The fact his wife was seemingly a client makes it hard to believe he didn't have some idea what Tocchet was doing. So, maybe you should read a bit more closely and stop assuming I'm saying Gretzky's guilty of anything except possibly looking the other way and poor judgement. And as for him being in the spotlight 24/7, so what? He's been compensated big-time for this "devotion." Athletes want the spotlight when it's beneficial, financially and otherwise, but think it's going to be turned off when something juicy comes up? Get real. Gretzky, again, is not guilty of anything, to my knowledge. It's his possible refusal to acknowledge what's going on around him that may cost another man his career.

posted by dyams at 07:16 AM on February 14

Weedy: Don't you think some of the hits Gretzky is taking are a consequence of his "I don't know, you'd have to ask her" comment when first asked about Janet gambling? Yes, I do - and I think it's totally unfair. When confronted by any criminal investigation involving family members or friends, the less said the better. I mean, your wife and friend are named in a case and you have to field questions from the media - what do you say? Especially considering you just found out. No matter what you say, you know you're going to be dragged into the case in the court of public opinion and likely get hosed. I think you're absolutely damned if you do, damned if you don't. Doubly so when you're as successful and storied as Gretzky. Frankly, the only criticism that I can level at Gretzky throughout this whole thing is that initially when he was saying "you'll have to ask her, I'm not involved" it sounded to me like he was more worried about his professional reputation than his wife (he seemed to be offering her up to the frenzied hordes). I didn't think that fit my impression of a devoted husband - but I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 07:51 AM on February 14

And even after the police fucking fudge the timelines of the wiretap, decide to release ONE name to the media (Janet) and do their damndest to sully his good (and it is good) name And of course we've heard practically nothing about this New Jersey state trooper who's supposed to have been implicated in this. Where is all of our information coming from? Oh, uh, New Jersey police. Sure, sully the biggest names that you can, but pay no attention to one of your own who's involved. I don't know whether or not they're intentionally manipulating public perception of this whole thing, but either way it sucks. "This is big and exciting! We can't tell you details, but that guy and that guy and that famous guy may or may not be involved! Speculate away!" I can't see how that'd help any investigation.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 08:53 AM on February 14

Story of [Wayne] gambling heavily on trips to Las Vegas. Oh my! $1000 a hand! That's not "heavy" gambling for their finances. Based on the same math that rcade did, on my salary, that's the equivalent of me betting a whopping $4 a hand. I couldn't find a seat at the $5/hand tables in Las Vegas last time I visited.

posted by grum@work at 08:54 AM on February 14

Tell me who didn't see this one coming! The Kings' Jeremy Roenick will meet with his attorneys on the East Coast today and then give an affidavit to New Jersey authorities investigating the NHL gambling scandal, a league source said. Roenick, sources have said, was among the players who placed bets with a nationwide gambling organization run by Phoenix Coyote assistant coach Rick Tocchet and James Harney, a New Jersey state policeman. -- Los Angeles Times

posted by wingnut4life at 09:20 AM on February 14

I mean, your wife and friend are named in a case and you have to field questions from the media - what do you say? "No comment." You don't pretend to be unaware of the situation and laugh it off. Some of the backlash from admirers of the Great One here is justified, and I think the wiretap leak was unfair because it didn't reveal the phone call was mere days earlier. But I still think that some of Gretzky's harsh treatment was caused by that dishonest little laugh. It's like Clinton's "I did not have sex with that woman" and Gary Hart's "follow me around." If the media turns their klieg lights on you and for some reason you're not in a position where you can tell the whole truth, shut your piehole.

posted by rcade at 10:55 AM on February 14

rcade - as any first year PR trainee will tell you - "No comment" is indeed a comment and the most unacceptable comment going. It's completely self-incriminating. Someone as media literate as Gretzky knew he couldn't possible say that. I think he was damned by circumstance. His wife and his coach were the only ones named in the initial press conference - Tocchet, or course, because he was being indicted. Janet, because it would make waves. Gretzky was completely set up to take heat for this from day one. It's a total snow job. If the media turns their klieg lights on you and for some reason you're not in a position where you can tell the whole truth, shut your piehole. But it appears that he did tell them the whole truth. 1 - didn't know about it. 2 - wasn't involved. 3 - loves and supports his wife. He had zero outs and was drawing dead.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:35 AM on February 14

Let he who is without sin build the first glass house.

posted by yerfatma at 11:38 AM on February 14

He had zero outs and was drawing dead. For the poker naive, this means there were no cards that could improve his hand to a winner (zero outs) and was waiting for cards that won't help (drawing dead).

posted by grum@work at 12:14 PM on February 14

"No comment" is indeed a comment and the most unacceptable comment going. It's completely self-incriminating. "I can't comment on an ongoing investigation" isn't self-incriminating. Gretzky could even borrow one from the White House and find a way to say "I was asked not to comment on an ongoing investigation." The Gretzkys are potential witnesses; neither has been accused of criminal wrongdoing or said to be a target of the investigation. But it appears that he did tell them the whole truth. 1 - didn't know about it. At the time, he did know about it, because he'd been spending time on the phone talking to Tocchet about how his wife could avoid being implicated. It's easy to look at the PR in hindsight, but Gretzky's a multimillionaire who has agents and lawyers. He had warning this was coming of at least a day or two. How could he not get ahead of this story? I think his best course of action would've been to either "no comment" or say what appears to be the truth: "My wife bet on the Super Bowl and a few other events, and she's now a potential witness in a criminal investigation. That's all I can say at this time."

posted by rcade at 12:17 PM on February 14

dyams, here's exactly why athletes respond with the same old stupid canned cliches instead of what they may be really thinking: Wayne made exactly one offhand comment in a moment of exhaustion before he understood the magnitude of what was going down, and look at the shitstorm. It's been twisted, misquoted and dissected like it was a track off the frigging White Album. If I was Wayne, I'd be of the opinion that the media has lost the right to hear my opinion on anything non-hockey-related until after all the trials have been completed, and maybe forever.

posted by chicobangs at 12:38 PM on February 14

As long as Wayne is honest to the courts and investigators I couldn't care less what he says to the media. If I was him I would have fun with it. I'd say, "Yeah, I made a bet with my wife, it was which one of you bloodsuckers would be the first to knock on my door. Smithers, release the hounds!" I mean come on, Tocchet is the one facing charges. The press is trying to make money and Gretzky in the headlines sells more than Tocchet.

posted by njsk8r20 at 01:16 PM on February 14

It's been twisted, misquoted and dissected like it was a track off the frigging White Album. THAT'S a good line!

posted by dyams at 01:36 PM on February 14

It's been twisted, misquoted and dissected like it was a track off the frigging White Album Chico your witisizm (is that a word) never fails to impress me. On the topic at hand, I know a lot of people have very hi regard for WG. Hell just reading some of these comments makes him sound like the second coming. Personally I dont know much about the guy. But be it him or the dude that lives in the apartment above me I truly believe in innocent until proven guilty. Having a college friend falsely accused of serving alchohol to minors and the shit he had to go thru, I can sympathise with um...the great one.

posted by Folkways at 04:49 PM on February 14

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