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Between Shohei Ohtani and Jontay Porter, there have been no shortage of sports gambling controversies in recent weeks.

But in the eyes of Bill Simmons, the coverage of such scandals has been overblown. Or, at the very least, he thinks it’s not unique to today’s day and age.

“I’ll just say this, because I’ve obviously been talking about gambling on all platforms since I was at ESPN in 2001: we’ve always had gambling scandals,” Simmons said on his The Bill Simmons Podcast.

The Sports Guy proceeded to back up his claim by rattling off a laundry list of sports-related gambling scandals that have occurred over the course of the past 70 years.

“In the 1950s, we had the college hoops. In 60s we had Paul Hornung and Alex Karras got suspended for a year — one of the most famous running backs and defensive players,” he said. “We had Liston-Ali 2, which if you don’t think that was f***ing fixed, the second fight in Lewiston, the punch that was so fast and Liston didn’t see it — and he can’t even figure out how to throw the fight, he’s just stumbling around, he gets up. Connie Hawkins, who ended up getting exonerated. In the 70s, we had Boston College basketball, which was a huge deal, which was part of the Goodfellas crew was in that.

“In the 1980s we had Tulane basketball. Hot Rod Williams, who there was a mistrial and then he ended up playing in the NBA for nine years. Pete Rose. Art Schlichter. We had the whole Jordan thing in ’93, I’m still not positive all of what happened in that. We had Northwestern hoops in ’95. BC football in the mid-90s. We had the Breeders’ Cup in ’02. We had Tim Donaghy reffing playoff games for years in the 2000s. We had that Rick Tocchet-Janet Jones, that was pretty weird. We had Italian soccer.”

Asked by guest Van Lathan if he’s uncomfortable with the degree to which sports gambling has become integrated into mainstream sports and whether it’s responsible for the influx of recent scandals, Simmons — whose podcast is sponsored by FanDuel — compared the situation to when fantasy sports first became popular.

“I remember when this happened with fantasy 20 years ago when people were like, ‘fantasy’s going to ruin the game. People care more about their fantasy teams than real teams.’ And we had to go through that whole stretch,” Simmons said. “Guess what, it’s just a different muscle when you’re following sports. I think we’re going to get there with the gambling thing. But what’s going to happen is a lot of people are going to latch onto this. You know how the internet goes. This is something they can go nuts about.

“To me, it’s like we’re in the 1.0 era of all this stuff. Just because Jontay Porter, if he did that, is an idiot, doesn’t mean we’re heading toward the 1919 Black Sox scandal… I look at it like, this has been a part of sports forever.”

To Simmons’ point, sports gambling has always been a prevalent part of sports, even if it wasn’t always discussed as openly as it is now. But it would also be impossible to look at the recent run of headlines — across nearly every sport — and think that the legalization of sports gambling across the country hasn’t played a primary role.

That’s not to say that Simmons is wrong, as his larger point is that we’re now at a place where sports are going to have to adjust to the reality of sports betting’s prevalence. As our Andrew Bucholtz wrote on Wednesday, not all sports gambling controversies are created equally. And Simmons seems to agree that there should be nuance — and historical context — applied to the way we discuss all of this moving forward.

[The Bill Simmons Podcast]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.