Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'll betcha it ain't my fault

I just couldn't let this one pass. I'd missed it this summer while I was on the Colorado River for 3 weeks: You remember that NBA ref, Tim Donaghy, who got in trouble for betting on games last year? Seems that in July, he was sentenced to 15 months in prison. He was expected to get 27 to 33 months, but his lawyer asked for leniency due to (yes, wait for it..) his gambling addiction. Comments made by gambling treatment expert Stephen Block in a sworn affidavit:

"In my professional opinion, Mr. Donaghy would have never committed these offenses if he was not a pathological gambler," "In short, he could not stop himself from gambling," "His gambling history demonstrates the need to gamble to fulfill the underlying need for 'action,'"

All right. I'm not saying there exists no behavior pattern that can be labeled "pathological gambling" or "gambling addiction" or "compulsive gambling" or the like. Nor am I suggesting that people who exhibit behaviors with easily predictable negative consequences deserve no sympathy/empathy/whatever. Maybe, just maybe, though, it is stories like this that result in "46 per cent of Canadians think(ing) people use the term mental illness as an excuse for bad behaviour." Canadian Medical Association president, Dr. Brian Day, says,

"In some ways, mental illness is the final frontier of socially acceptable discrimination. Can you imagine the public uproar if mental health was replaced with race, gender or religion?"

So, maybe Donaghy's judge didn't want to be called prejudiced so she reduced his sentence from the expected 27-33 months to 15 months. Somehow, though, those gambling addiction comments from Stephen Block seem inconsistent with the idea that mental illness is analogous to race, gender, or religion. The following sound awkward to me:

"In my professional opinion, Mr. Donaghy would have never committed these offenses if he was not white," "In short, he could not stop himself from having a Y-chromosome," "His Christian upbringing demonstrates the need to worship Jesus to fulfill the underlying need for 'action,'"

3 comments:

Tashia said...

Well done husband! Glad to see you're back online.

Sally said...

Is Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame yet? If not, he should be able to get in now.

Dennis said...

You're right. We should all feel sorry for Pete, shouldn't we?