Nick Wright Credit: Yahoo Sports on YouTube

All of sports media is talking about the influence of legalized gambling thanks to Rudy Gobert, but Fox Sports host Nick Wright went further than anyone this week by predicting a referee betting scandal in one of the four major American sports within the next four years.

Joining the Good Word with Goodwill on Yahoo Sports this week, Wright noted that refs make less money and are therefore more likely to be pulled to unseemly activity than athletes or coaches. And not so distant history in the NBA with Tim Donaghy (as well as numerous scandals in world soccer) prove it’s not all that far-fetched.

Wright didn’t stand behind Gobert’s specific comments, but he agreed with the premise of questioning referees given the prevalence of sports betting today.

“I do think the refs part of it is going to be an ongoing question fans have and concern for the league,” Wright told host Vince Goodwill. “Between now and four years from today, one of our major sports is going to have a gambling scandal. And I don’t think it will involve a player, I think it will involve an official. None of the officials make millions of dollars … but for someone who makes 150, 40 grand could pay off your car, pay off your mortgage. So I think it’s a tough spot.”

Wright also explained why fears over an NBA superstar fixing a game like Shoeless Joe Jackson and the 1910s Chicago Black Sox are unfounded.

“I think anybody that thinks professional players would ever fix a game don’t understand how difficult getting big dollars down on any game is, and how much money these guys are making,” Wright said. “It is almost impossible unless you are a well-known whale, bad gambler, to get more than $40,000 down on any individual basketball game. And I understand 40 grand is a lot of money, but not compared to any NBA contract … so any player that would have the ball in their hands enough to impact a game like that, the risk vs. reward doesn’t exist. So I don’t worry about players fixing games.”

While Gobert’s bank account took a hit over his comments, they certainly inspired some introspection within the media. Wright even copped to complicity given how gambling funds so much of sports media in 2024. Hopefully the same dialogue happened in league office boardrooms, if not prior to Gobert going public than at least now that it’s out there.

[Yahoo! Sports on YouTube]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.