'My Gambling Problem Controlled Me.'

From Associated Press

Here is the text of Pete Rose's statement, released after he entered a guilty plea Friday morning in federal court to two felony tax charges:

"Today I am facing again the facts of what my addiction to gambling has done to me, as well as my family and friends. I have agreed to plead guilty of two charges of failing to report information on my income tax returns. When I appear before a federal judge in a few months, it will bring to an end the speculation about what I have--and haven't--done since my personal problems first came to public attention 14 months ago.

"I am truly sorry for what has happened, and not just because I have had to leave baseball, the sport I love, and face still more punishment because of my mistakes. My family and friends have suffered as well, and I regret the pain I have caused them. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I also realize that millions of baseball fans may have been disappointed because I didn't live up to the respect and admiration they gave me during my career. I am not a bad person, but I did some bad things.

"I just hope that you will understand that I have a sickness. I first realized last October that I had a gambling problem, and I made that public in November. I have been able to stop gambling since then--but I will need help for the rest of my life.

"Gambling relaxed me and I enjoyed it. About six years ago, though, when my playing career started to wind down, gambling became more and more important to me. Every gambler thinks he's going to be the one to beat the house, and I was no different. But the house does win in the long run, and so I needed more and more money to bet more and more."

"I'm very lucky that I'm still financially well off, because my advisers made it embarrassing for me to get at all of my savings to use for gambling. I didn't want anybody I cared about to know how much I was gambling. The so-called friends I had back then didn't care about my gambling or me, so I was ready to hang out with them. They even made money off of me. When the chance came along to get gambling money by signing autographs and selling memorabilia, I grabbed it.

"Compulsive gambling makes you less than honest about your life. Part of you knows that something's wrong, so you hide what you're doing. Sometimes, even I didn't remember what the real story was anymore. Life today is certainly better without gambling.

"I'm asked a lot about the Hall of Fame. There's no question that my baseball records earned me a place, but I understand that the Hall of Fame means more than 4,192 hits. In a year and a half, the baseball writers will have to make the decision about whether or not I'm worthy of the Hall, and I hope they'll understand that the mistakes I made off the field were caused by my gambling disorder. In November 1991, I hope they'll see that I came clean about my problems, got help and stayed out of trouble.

"My gambling problem controlled me. I started to change my ways last November, and I will do my best to continue my recovery. The things that matter to me right now are getting my life back in order and regaining the trust of my family and friends. I know that I will regret as long as I live the pain and embarrassment I have caused them and baseball."

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