In this week’s special edition of Around the Dorm, the “Ref,” George Tatoris, asks our panel of past and present sports editors three questions: Should DraftKings and FanDuel be illegal? Are the Panthers or Bengals more likely to make it to the Super Bowl and should Kobe Bryant play in the 2016 Olympics?
1. Is New York state right about DraftKings and FanDuel? Should they be illegal?
Michael: I don’t agree with the ban if it’s permanent, it’s extremely dumb and gives New Yorkers more reason to come to the Garden State for their sports betting needs. The allegations and stories about how users were able to bet and make moves after the deadline make me think websites like DraftKings need either more security or some regulation. At the same time, New York shouldn’t be telling residents how they can and cannot spend their money with this being such a gray area. DraftKings and FanDuel aren’t typical sports betting websites since, when it’s done right and not by users messing with the system, smart people make money for their planned out strategies. It’s an unfortunate situation for New Yorkers who use the site, but I expect the websites to return to state residents in a few weeks after some tune ups are made. If not, internet proxies are an option for those who need their one day fantasy teams.
Mackenzie: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman must have taken a sip from his extra-large soda that former Mayor Bloomberg tried to ban just a few years ago. With all of that sugar in his head, it’s no wonder he set out on his own banning spree in New York. It’s not a matter of DraftKings or FanDuel’s legality in this situation, it’s that a ban in one state won’t stop fans from finding online gambling. I’m not a political person, so I can’t say that I know what is best or if stopping people from gambling really is illegal, but just like people would always find a way to get their XL soda fix, “banning” the online sites won’t really stop fans.
Matt: I don’t think daily fantasy sites like FanDuel and DraftKings should be illegal. To me, it’s not really gambling. Unlike roulette, slot machines and most other forms of gambling, daily fantasy sites take skill. Players have to know which athletes to pick and which to pass on. Daily fantasy is not random. However, it is unfair, which is most likely why it was deemed illegal. The players that win big spend thousands of dollars, where the everyday man will only pay a 10th of that. The more money you spend joining multiple leagues, the better chance you have to win. When a casual player goes up against one of the richer players, who use formulas to maximize their rosters, they don’t stand a chance. At least we have all been spared from the never-ending Fanduel commercials… for now.
Matt gets 3 points for saying the sites aren’t real gambling. Michael gets 2 points for pointing out the gray area and Mackenzie gets 1 point for saying that gambling wouldn’t stop.
2. The NFL season is halfway through and two teams, besides the Patriots, are undefeated. Which team is the better Super Bowl contender — the Panthers or the Bengals?
Michael: The Carolina Panthers have the better chance to make it to Super Bowl Sunday than Cincinnati does. First of all, look at their remaining schedule! They play every team in the NFC East (minus the Eagles), the Saints and the Buccaneers. The only challenge they truly have is taking on Atlanta twice in the span of three weeks, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they split those. Then in the playoffs, I think they’ll beat the fourth or fifth seed and walk by Green Bay who are busy having their yearly choke. That’s not even mentioning talent like tight end Greg Olsen, who at 30, is coming off a Pro Bowl season with numbers that could match his 2009 best. Quarterback Cam Newton has thrown for 14 touchdowns, and the running offense has been pretty solid the past few weeks. Everything is working so well that I honestly can’t see them not being in the Big Game.
Mackenzie: The Panthers have the heart and nerve that the Bengals lack to remain undefeated. That stems from the Panthers quarterback himself, Cam Newton. The five-year veteran is looking like a young Tom Brady at that time in his career, and, yes, that is referring to skills and looks. Jokes aside, Newton is out to protect the win streak with scrappy energy that has the team fired up. From ripping down a Green Bay Packers banner that was hung outside his home stadium to throwing 297 yards that game, Newton is playoff ready because he is ready to protect his house.
Matt: As much as I don’t think the Panthers are for real, I believe in the Bengals and Andy Dalton even less. Every year it seems as though the Bengals impress in the NFC North and have high expectations heading into the playoffs. And then, Dalton reverts into one of the worst quarterbacks to ever play the game in the first round. The Bengals are much improved this year, and so is Dalton. Even if he doesn’t choke, the team still has no chance against the Patriots in a potential playoff matchup. As for the Panthers, I didn’t think they were good at all after five weeks. Then they beat the Eagles and the Packers and proved me wrong. With their defense, and Newton protecting the ball, the Panthers have a real shot at winning the NFC.
Michael gets 3 points for mentioning the Panthers’ schedule. Mackenzie gets 2 points for getting to the heart of the matter and Matt gets 1 point for Dalton’s past disappointments.
3. Should 37-year-old Kobe Bryant be allowed to end his career with the 2016 Olympics like he wants, or should a younger star take his place?
Michael: Kobe Bryant should be replaced, because for two of the last four years, he hasn’t played a full season without dealing with some injury. The Olympics are supposed to showcase the best of the best in American sporting talent, and Kobe hasn’t proven himself in the past few years. There shouldn’t be a reserved seat for Kobe because he’s Kobe. Younger stars like Jordan Clarkson and Andrew Wiggins (depending on how they do this year), could argue they deserve it, but it might be too soon for them (but I wouldn’t be against it). In the end, though, we all know the U.S.A. will win the gold metal in 2016 — they’ve won five out of the last six and no other country really looks as powerful.
Mackenzie: Had the Olympics not done away with baseball, there is no question that Derek Jeter would have held out his career to be sent off globally in the upcoming Rio Olympics. No one would have questioned his abilities or motives, rather, they would have called him an American hero and given him a worthy send-off. Why isn’t the same being done for Kobe Bryant? A man with his legacy deserves to be sent off on the world’s stage with fans from around the world giving their proper farewells. America’s Dream Team won’t disappoint so Bryant can end his career a winner, rather than not even making it to the playoffs with the Lakers who are still rebuilding. Jeter’s career came to a close in a similar fashion when the Yankees couldn’t pull off a successful season for their captain’s last go-around. Had Jeter gotten one last go at the Olympics there would have been an added layer to his farewell legacy. Bryant has that opportunity and deserves a chance to go out on top.
Matt: Sure he should be allowed. Olympic basketball is a joke, anyway. What difference does it make if Bryant or some 22-year-old kid rides the bench? Neither of them will make a difference, for better or worse. The U.S.A. will blow out almost every other team in the tournament, like always. Bryant is one of the best to ever play the game. He should be able to end things on his terms, even if he isn’t worthy of an Olympic roster spot.
Mackenzie gets three points for the Jeter comparison. Michael gets 2 points for Kobe’s injuries and Matt gets 1 point for saying Olympic basketball is a joke.
Michael wins Around the Dorm 7-6-5.