Editor’s note: This article contains examples of racial slurs.
A pair of Toronto Raptors players are speaking out about the dark side of the sports gambling world.
Since single-game wagering —a common form of sports gambling — was legalized in April 2022, Raptors players have noticed a string of prejudiced and harmful messages targeted at them and their families by aggravated bettors.
“Somebody said: ‘I chose the wrong slave today.’ Literally, sent me that message,” forward Chris Boucher said on Yahoo Sports Canada’s Hustle Play podcast last month, as flagged by CBC News. “I had to read it; I couldn’t believe it. He said, ‘I chose the wrong slave,’ because I had only five points, and he needed me to score 10.”
Boucher, along with co-host Mike Roach and guest Alvin Williams, discussed how the relationship between players and fans has grown increasingly toxic with the rise of social media.
“People just want you to do what they want, and that’s the issue. The betting’s not going to make it better with the parlays and all that. I’m so over this, man,” he added.
Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet pointed out that his family has been targeted due to bettors not hitting on certain wagers.
“You can’t fathom dealing with this on a daily basis,” he said on Yahoo’s Strictly Hoops podcast. “You can’t fathom a ‘I hope your mom dies’ DM every day.”
The Raptors are looking to keep their season alive tonight as they host the Chicago Bulls at Scotiabank Arena for a play-in game at 7 pm ET, with the loser being eliminated from contention in the NBA postseason.