But, as the feds know, the case isn't so simple. They also know that the gamblers aren't really hiding. "We admit that we were accepting bets over the Internet," says Ben Brafman, a lawyer who represents Jay Cohen, a partner in an Antigua-based betting service and one of the gambling operators charged. "The only question is whether the government can prove that's illegal."
Brafman and most civil libertarians say the government can't. They argue that the Internet, as a supranational entity, is not governed by U.S. law. They also say that bettors must put money into wagering accounts in the countries in which the gambling sites are based before being allowed to bet, so any action actually takes place outside U.S. jurisdiction.
Certainly the raid has done little to dampen the $600 million Internet gambling boom (SI, Jan. 26). "We've taken more calls than ever," says one site owner. "When the U.S. attorneys included our Web address in their press release, it was advertising we couldn't have bought."
Athletes and Violence
Standing Up for The Victims
One evening in 1994 a 21-year-old intern at Denver's KUSA-TV answered a phone call from a sobbing woman. The caller said that she had been battered by her spouse and had filed assault charges against him but was too frightened to face him in court. The intern, Katherine Redmond, understood how the woman was feeling. In 1991 when Redmond was a freshman at Nebraska, she was, she says, twice raped by Cornhuskers defensive tackle Christian Peter, who's now with the New York Giants. (Peter, who was never charged, says the sex was consensual; a civil suit filed by Redmond against the university was settled last March.) Redmond heard the caller out and helped her through the ordeal. "Afterward a woman I worked with told me, 'You can't change the world,' " says Redmond.
But she's going to try. Driven by the rising number of violent crimes against women by athletes (SI, July 31, '95), as well as tragedies like the January suicide of the estranged, abused girlfriend of New York Giants safety Tito Wooten, Redmond last Thursday announced the formation of the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes (NCAVA).
The NCAVA will try to educate the public on this issue and provide legal referrals and counseling services for victims. Armed with a communications degree and a background in public relations, Redmond will run the coalition from the basement of her apartment in Littleton, Colo. "When the athletic departments claim that Janie was drunk and wearing a miniskirt, we'll put our spin on it [by pointing out] that Janie was a 4.0 honor student," says Redmond. "Once you level the playing field, you'll have less chance of corruption."
The NCAVA will urge college athletic directors and executives of professional teams to be more assertive in punishing abusing athletes. One of the coalition's more ambitious goals is a Web site bulletin board listing college and pro athletes with records of violence, an aid, as Redmond sees it, for personnel people to use when deciding whether to employ a particular athlete.
As the incidence of abusive behavior by athletes continues to grow, so do Redmond's hopes. 'Victims need to know that there is something they can do," Redmond says. "I wish there had been a group like this around for me."
Ray Nitschke (1936-1998)
A Tough but Gentle Packer