Pete Rose doesn’t get it. He thinks he can admit guilt and have it amount to apology. He thinks he can set the timing of his admission, and have it make up for 14 years of denial. He thinks he can dictate people’s response. He thinks forgiveness should come automatically with no questions.
As far as I can tell, Pete Rose still doesn’t understand that his betting on baseball was wrong.
But let’s review what Rose has done:
- He bet on baseball. He bet on his own team. He did this even knowing (and he claims to be a student of the game who knows and appreciates its history) that getting caught betting on baseball carried a mandatory ban from baseball.
- He denied betting on baseball for 14 years, even verbally abusing John Dowd and Fay Vincent. Where is his apology to them?
- He didn’t admit his gambling in an interview or press conference. He did it in a book — a book that will put cash in his pocket.
- He did it a way that upstaged the Hall of Fame election of Paul Molitor and Dennis Eckersley.
There is no evidence that Rose is contrite. Instead, he is combative, crying in his beer over the criticism he is getting. This is not the picture of a man who is mature, nor of one who wouldn’t do it all again if given the chance.
Rose should not be in the Hall of Fame. He should not be an official member of the baseball community. Nothing will ever diminish his accomplishments, just as Shoeless Joe Jackson‘s great playing record has stood the test of time, but if you bet on baseball, you are banned for life. End of story. And to change that rule for one man, no matter how many hits, would open baseball for future abuses of anti-gambling policies.