Horse racing can’t smirk at NFL’s troubles

If there is a sport that should not be smirking at the Ray Rice based foibles of the NFL and its commissioner, Roger Goodell, it’s horse racing.

The sport has stubbed its public relations toes more than once on issues such as claims of animal cruelty, use of legal and illegal drugs and transparency throughout the game, to name a few.

But, unlike the NFL, we have built-in excuses.

First, the NFL is one league. Has one voice, its commissioner. Should have an honest, well-considered plan in facing its problems head on.

However, what the NFL and Goodell have offered the public in dealing with the Rice case is hard to believe. For example, anyone who understands the modern day casino knows that its surveillance systems are second to none. Security cameras everywhere.

The NFL knew there was video of Rice and his then fiancee in the Revel casino elevator. To claim they made one feeble attempt to obtain it — and failed — does not pass the smell test.

Now they’ve hired attorney Robert Mueller, former head of the FBI, as an independent investigator to examine how the NFL handled the Rice case. On surface it seems noble, until you look deeper.

Mueller is a partner of WilmerHale law firm, which has the NFL as a client. Many former employees of WilmerHale work either for the league or for NFL teams. This is a serious potential conflict of interest.

It’s the reason horse racing stewards are not allowed to bet. They are the judge and jury at the track.

Horse racing does not have a league or a single voice. There is no commissioner with the power to dictate policy.

A league concept probably will not happen in horse racing. Not only would organizations need to relinquish power, but each state also would have to abdicate its control to a central governing body.

An alphabet soup full of organizations all are speaking on the sport’s problem topics but coming from different agendas. I believe they are well intentioned. But uniformity may never occur, because in the end each organization has differing goals.

The only way I see to get the sport under the umbrella of a single governing body would be the intervention of the federal government. And I’m sure as soon as this is read, many of you will be spitting up coffee over that idea.

When the federal government gets involved, that’s when ordering toilet seats start costing $200 each.

Instead, horse racing requires consensus building in which everyone has a seat at the table, including us horseplayers who foot most of the bills.

MONMOUTH PARK SPORTS BETTING — Monmouth Park announced it is delaying the start of sports betting for 45 days, at least. William Hill would be the company to implement the project should the track proceed.

I’ve come to the conclusion that pursuing sports betting, rather than casino betting, is an idea whose time has come. It seems that building new casinos are not foolproof. They are costly, cannibalize existing casinos, and the revenue stream to horse racing always is in jeopardy.

I believe the pro leagues resistance can be tamed if they received a share of the profits.

STATION CASINOS TWIN Q — Every Saturday in September, all participating Station Casinos race books will offer a $10,000 Twin Quinella. That is double the normal prize pool.

Richard Eng’s horse racing column is published Friday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He can be reached at rich_eng@hotmail.com. Follow him on Twitter: @richeng4propick.

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