Jockey Mychel Sanchez was suspended by Pennsylvania officials Thursday for betting on horseracing. But here’s the kicker: He wasn’t just betting on any old race; he was betting on races he himself was in. And it’s even worse: Sanchez was betting against himself. Talk about scandalous. Still, Alan Pincus, Sanchez’s attorney, says we shouldn’t judge too harshly, claiming that Sanchez is mentally ill; for proof, he points out that Sanchez actually won some of those races. Pincus in the Paulick Report:
“These are extremely weird circumstances. You can never totally understand how the human mind works. People who may appear to be on top of the world…can be suffering from depression. You don’t know. Mychel Sanchez is suffering from some type of depression. I’m not a psychiatrist, but he’s someone who needs help. He started betting. Not in any cheating way, just as a way of coping with the pain he was experiencing. He’s been feeling low for some time and it’s been building up in him.
“It’s inexplicable. He had races where he actually bet against his own horse, then went out and won the race. He’s not pulling horses, he’s not doing it for evil purposes, he’s doing it for crazy purposes, inexplicable purposes. … He is not a criminal. … He’s a person who needs help. Although he needs to be punished and needs treatment, it shouldn’t be fatal punishment.”
To hear Mr. Pincus tell it, we should be offering compassion, not outrage. By the way, PA’s idea of an appropriate punishment for an active participant betting against himself: 60 days. And they wonder why their social license is in such dire straits.