San Francisco Giants Players Harassed On Social Media By Angry Bettors

Written By Adam Hensley on June 14, 2024
Matt Chapman, SF Giants infielder, and other teammates have received gambling-related harassment through social media

Harassers will use any social media site they can to go after athletes over a lost sports bet, and players on the San Francisco Giants are experiencing just that.

San Francisco’s Tyler Rogers and Matt Chapman told USA Today that they were forced to make their Venmo accounts private because gamblers would request money after they lost a bet involving the players.

“I had to make my Venmo private because I’d blow a game or something, and people would find me on Venmo, and they’d send me requests,” Rogers said. “‘Hey, you cost me $1,500. You better pay me back.’ It definitely gets people a lot more upset than it used to.”

Chapman said the harassment got so bad that he ended up changing his Venmo account. He said,

“Fans used to say normal things like, ‘You’re a bum.’ Now that they have all that money on us, fans will talk a lot of [expletive] to us.”

Other Giants Players Also Being Harassed Despite MLB’s Attempts to Help

Although he’s not on the Venmo platform, San Francisco Giants pitcher Logan Webb told USA Today that he’s received “nasty DMs” and other “messed-up stuff” from gamblers who feel burned by a lost wager.

“People are really passionate about teams, and now that you add money to it, it’s bigger than ever,” he said.

The MLB Players Association has been worried about this for some time.

In 2018, the Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on sports betting, leaving the subject up to individual states. But some of the effects of that ruling, such as player harassment, are often overlooked.

In response, the players association negotiated for Amendment 61 in their collective bargaining agreement. Amendment 61 requires teams to be proactive in stopping aggressive fan behavior toward players.

There’s a safety hotline for players to report threats from bettors, and they can reach out if family members receive threats as well.

“My first year, there wasn’t that much gambling going on,” Webb said. “It was just, ‘Oh, you suck. You shouldn’t be on the team.’ Just things like that. Now, you’re getting, ‘You cost me money.’ They are some [messed] up [expletive]. I get a lot of that with strikeouts. ‘Hey, I got money on you for strikeouts. Are you going to hit it?’ I always look up and say, ‘Probably not.’ There are times it gets pretty serious.”

Sports Betting Aspect of the Game Is Here to Stay

As part of the collective bargaining agreement, the MLB instituted a rule that no gambling information can be displayed on team scoreboards before and during games.

That includes player-specific performance and player-specific betting-related information.

And while that certainly helps, it doesn’t isolate fans from the gambling aspect of the game. They can access their favorite sportsbook with just a couple of taps on their phones.

Granted, they can’t do so in Oracle Park, or any ball field in California, since California sports betting is illegal. But it’s legal in 38 states and Washington, D.C.

Tommy Pham, who plays for the Chicago White Sox but spent time with San Francisco, knows the risks involved in gambling. He’s open about being a fan of blackjack. But he’s well aware of how out of control things have gotten in recent years.

“It’s completely out of hand,” he told USA Today. “As a blackjack gambler myself, you shouldn’t bet on anything you’re not prepared to lose, but we know that doesn’t happen, and it brings out all of those keyboard warriors. It’s getting worse and worse.”

Some states take preventing athlete harassment into their own hands

A perfect example of one state curbing this behavior is Ohio.

Last year, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed the state’s budget bill. In it, there was specific language that allowed regulators to ban any bettor from gambling if they harassed or threatened athletes, referees, coaches, owners, or governing body officials over a sports bet.

If a bettor is found to have done so, the Ohio Casino Control Commission will ban them from using any regulated sportsbook in the state.

The move came months after Dayton basketball coach Anthony Grant said his team had been harassed by gamblers.

Sports betting isn’t yet legal in California, but that doesn’t stop members of the Giants—or any team, for that matter—from being harassed.

Should California eventually legalize sports betting, it would be wise to create a law similar to Ohio’s to further protect its athletes and those involved in the game from resentful bettors.

Photo by Jeff Chiu / AP Images
Adam Hensley Avatar
Written by
Adam Hensley

Adam Hensley is a journalist with experience covering online sports betting and gambling across Catena Media. His byline has appeared in the Associated Press, Sports Illustrated and sites within the USA Today Network.

View all posts by Adam Hensley
Privacy Policy