Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last couple of days, you’ve probably heard that 2004 WSOP Main Event winner, and all around good-guy, Greg Raymer was busted in a prostitution sting. The reaction in the poker community has been, well, as expected. Some people have taken some humorous jabs, some have defended Raymer, and some have questioned why prostitution is illegal in the first place (usually as a backdoor method of defending Raymer).
First off, for the sake of full disclosure, I don’t know Raymer. I may have met him once or twice but can’t recall a particular time or place. I like what he’s done for poker and think that, in the past, he’s been a very positive influence in the poker community.
I also have mixed feelings about prostitution. I can see both sides of the argument. Prostitution can be degrading to women and can often lead to more horrific things like sex trafficking and slavery but I’ve also traveled to and lived in places where prostitution was openly practiced and within certain confines it seems to work well for all parties.
That said, I do take issue with those that feel we shouldn’t talk about what happened. Like Lee Jones from PokerStars who chose an odd way to voice his message.
Any of us that would be happy to have our private lives detailed in the news are welcome to comment about Greg Raymer. #FirstStone
— Lee Jones (@leehjones) March 15, 2013
First off, I’m not sure referencing the Bible (#FirstStone) to make a point about a guy who got busted for prostitution really gets the point across.
But more importantly (to me) is that there’s a huge difference between Joe Sixpack’s private life and Raymer’s private life. Joe Sixpack isn’t trading on his name and reputation. Raymer is. Raymer enjoys a very nice lifestyle and perks many normal folks don’t have afforded to them. He puts himself out there as a spokesman for online poker sites and poker tours. He lobbies members of Congress.
In other words, he chose to become a public figure. And even the law thinks that there’s a difference between a public figure’s private life and Joe Sixpack’s. The standard for a libel or slander lawsuit is much higher for private citizens than it is for public figures.
There’s also the fact that this is public information now. It’s appeared on TMZ, news reports, and in most poker media. It’s not his private life if it becomes public information via a police blotter.
Matt Kaufman, who I had the great pleasure of chatting with at the blogger tournament in December, had a different take though it was slightly similar to Lee Jones’ view.
The impact that this arrest will have on Raymer’s career is yet to be seen, but frankly it would be a shame if this leads to Raymer no longer acting as a public advocate for poker.
The poker community should be thankful to Raymer for all of the hard work he’s done for us over the years, and it is this author’s opinion that we should forget this incident ever even happened.
Where I think Matt goes astray on this is that he can’t separate Greg Raymer the poker advocate from Greg Raymer the (accused) solicitor of prostitutes.
I too think it would be a shame if Raymer were to no longer act as a public advocate for poker. I too am thankful for all that Raymer has done for the poker community.
But I don’t agree that we have to be willing to open up our private lives before we can comment on Raymer’s situation. I also don’t think we need to forget this incident ever happened.
Not because I think Raymer did anything bad. I don’t have any moral issues with his actions.
There’s a big difference between forgiving and forgetting. I forgive Raymer for what he did (not that he needs my forgiveness) because I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. But I’m not going to forget just because he’s a good guy.
If he did it, he did it. He should be man enough to deal with the jokes, comments, and opinions of others. That’s the risk he knew he was taking as soon as he responded to the ad.
Raymer is the one who gets to choose how this incident defines him. Personally, I don’t think it’s that damaging to him in the long run.
The funny part is that if Raymer comes out and tells people to stay out of his personal life or to forget about it because he’s been overall +EV for the poker community, he’s done. If he comes out and just deals with it bluntly, I think nobody even remembers it twelve months from now.