With Rafa Nadal’s recent endorsement of online gambling, it left me pondering what responsibility, if any, he has to his fans to explain his rationale behind doing these adverts.I think gambling is a dubious thing to be allowed free rein on our high streets (with the increase in betting shops) and TV screens. It seems that every 5 minutes Shane Warne, Ray Winstone and now Rafa are shoving the merits of gambling down our throats.
They make it look attractive and appealing when the reality is somewhat different, which strikes me as particularly repugnant. For those who suffer from or know people who suffer from gambling addiction and all the associated problems that come with it (family breakups and depression etc,) this depiction of gambling must be particularly galling.
All these thoughts have been rolling round my head, so I thought the most logical way to explore this topic was to imagine a conversation between Rafa Nadal and his 9-year old-self.
Little Rafa:Hey Rafa, what the hell do you think you are doing playing poker on TV?
Old Rafa:Don’t take that tone with me young man.
Little Rafa:Well don’t you know that in the United Kingdom alone there are 450,000 gambling addicts?
Old Rafa:You are awfully informed for your age, and for what year are your statistics based because that seems like quite a lot for 1995.
Little Rafa:Why 1995?
Old Rafa:Because you are the 9-year-old me and when I was 9 it would have been 1995.
Little Rafa:No these statistics are up to date as of 2012
Old Rafa:So you travelled through time to obtain statistics on gambling addiction, doesn’t that seem a bit of a waste of the gift of time travel?
Little Rafa:Listen, your missing the point! I am only a tenuous device designed to illustrate a rather clunking moral point about the ills of gambling, so would you just shut the fuck up and listen?
Old Rafa:Do you kiss our mother with that mouth? (Little Rafa shoots Old Rafa a stern glance) ok little buddy give me some stats.
Little Rafa:2% of 12-15 year olds are addicted to gambling so I really do not think it is cool for you to promote gambling Old Rafa, kids look up to you.
Old Rafa:You are right little Rafa, I have seen the error of my ways and I will go back to sponsoring only ethical companies, like Nike.
Little Rafa:I should think so. Anyway I gotta go practice my tennis – if I don’t practice enough and subsequently become shit at tennis, I will never win all those grand slams and this conversation will never have taken place which will cause a time paradox and a rip in the space-time continuum, laterz.
*Statistics taken from http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2012/apr/20/gambling-hell-betting-addiction-debt
Source: Nadal’s Poker Face