talkSPORT’s Simon Jordan believes the ‘addiction card’ is being used for Sandro Tonali amid his allegations of illegal betting activities.
Tonali, who joined Newcastle in the summer, is under police investigation for illegal betting and is currently under investigation.
talkSPORT understands the Magpies are expecting a lengthy ban and his agent recently confirmed he suffers from an addiction.
Tonali boss Eddie Howe offered his support as he spoke about the 23-year-old for the first time since the investigation began.
However, talkSPORT’s Jordan fears that pretending he suffers from an addiction could “diminish” those who are actually addicted.
Speaking on White and Jordan, he said: “I know he’s their player, I mean ‘throw your arms around him’, I would put my hands around his neck because he put Newcastle in a position they hadn’t considered. is going to be put in.
“He’s a 23-year-old, he’s not a boy, this demeaning of people because he happens to be a certain age because they did something wrong.
“I understand they have to protect their assets, I understand they can’t give anything to the media because the media will spin it into something even bigger than it is.
“The young man has apparently done something that puts everyone in a difficult position, including himself, and he must reap the consequences.
“Now, will it be something different from the (Lucas) Paqueta situation where Paqueta is still playing for West Ham and there is no outcome to be determined yet, if we want to make it ‘It could be his last game for Newcastle this season.’
“We have another, perhaps different, example with Paqueta accused of something similar, not illegal betting platforms, but without breaking any in-game betting rules, period.
“So, keeping that in mind, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s his last game, but it must be maddening. The player hasn’t just let himself down, he’s let everyone down. I say these things without apology, I am not diminishing the addiction.
“I worry sometimes that these days it’s played like a card to get you out from under something when the problem lands on your doorstep, which diminishes people with real addictions.”
When asked by host Jim White if Tonali’s agent was playing an “addiction card,” Jordan added: “It could very well play on him and if he starts suggesting that the player has a gambling addiction , the question we asked is ‘Well.’ , when did you first learn this?
“And are we starting to see that people sold something to someone knowing that this particular situation was one that had been damaged by the potential danger unfolding in front of it? So he might come back and bite his rather smart ass, this agent.
Arsenal legend Martin Keown also suggested that Newcastle may well have the right to claim compensation if he is banned.
Keown told talkSPORT: “Howe said when he came to the club he was really surprised to have him. Because he was a player who played in the semi-final of the Champions League, at a very high level, and he chose to come to Newcastle.
“And you wonder, you know, how much the selling club knew what was going on at the time.”
He added: “Surely this gambling problem would have been well known? Newcastle paid £52m, are they entitled to compensation here? They potentially won’t have any players for a year, for 18 months.
Paul Merson, who has battled a gambling addiction, took to X to wish Tonali “all the best” and call for an end to “major bans”. Responding to the former Arsenal star’s message, Keown said: “Paul has a great understanding of that.
“For those who do not suffer from these addictions that Paul went through. Paul is obviously understanding and sees this as an illness, something much more serious, much bigger, so we have to support the player.
White then asked if he was with Merson on this situation and he replied: “Well, what I think is if you’re addicted, why are you actually betting on the games that you’re playing.”
“You can bet on anything, so you’d be stupid to try to do that and put your own career at risk, so I don’t quite understand that element.
“I’m all for protecting people with illnesses or addictions and we need to support them and try to help them get through it. This seems to be the attitude Howe is taking, but what else is he supposed to do? He must support the player.
“I mean, ironically, he went off to play international football and they threw the book at him. He was arrested, he was sent off the training ground, so there is an indignity in all that, there is a shame, so the player must be supported.
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