The allegations tying Marlins pitcher Jarred Cosart's to sports gambling all began last night with a Twitter post by @GhostFadeKillah, a guy in New Jersey with 1,110 followers. A screencap he posted appears to show Cosart asking someone for advice about bets. But where did that screencap come from?
New Times spoke this afternoon with the man behind @GhostFadeKillah, who says Cosart's gambling conversation actually took place back in December — casting doubt on claims that Cosart's account had recently been hacked. He also says he's seen no indication that Cosart ever bet on baseball and doesn't believe the tweets should lead to any punishment for the pitcher.
New Times agreed not to name the Twitter user because the 25-year-old is involved in gambling and worried about possible legal consequences. (He sent DMs from the @GhostFadeKillah account to confirm his identity.)
He says the screencap below came from a friend. He shared it because a "tout" — or sports gambling expert who offers betting advice — had been sharing another message from Cosart to boost his own bonafides. @GhostFadeKillah shared the tweet less to burn Cosart than to warn gamblers off of the expert by showing that Cosart regularly messaged other touts.
He provided New Times with time-stamped photo data that appears to show the exchange was screencapped on December 16, 2014. That would cast doubt on any claims that Cosart had recently been hacked — an excuse posted by a Twitter user purporting to be Cosart's new official account, which was then quickly deleted. (There's still no word on whether that account was ever actually Cosart in the first place.)
A second exchange that seems to show Cosart asking about advice for betting on college basketball came from another friend and is dated about two weeks ago, he says. (He also declined to ID his sources for either message to protect them from legal consequences.)
Got another DM just now... pic.twitter.com/cXxhm23Kto— Ghostfade Killah (@ghostfadekillah) March 25, 2015
Most importantly, the user behind @GhostFadeKillah says he never saw any evidence that Cosart was gambling on baseball. While MLB's rules strictly prohibit gambling on the National Pastime, they don't forbid players from casting bets on other sports.
"It wasn't that big a deal, because I don't think he was ever betting on baseball," he says, adding of the second set of messages that "it was always about college basketball, and he never said anything about baseball. (My friend) did say that he wasn't that good at betting."
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Does any of this prove that @GhostFadeKillah didn't just photoshop the whole exchange in both cases? Obviously not. Any story that starts with allegations in the gambling nether regions of Twitter should be approached with extreme skepticism — until MLB investigates and announces results one way or another, we may never know how much fire if any lies behind the smoke of these claims.
MLB confirmed to New Times this morning that the league is looking into the allegations; the Marlins declined to comment on the case other than confirming that they know about the investigation. Cosart has yet to respond directly to reporters, and his agent hasn't returned a call from New Times.
For what it's worth, @GhostFadeKillah says he doesn't regret posting the messages. "The only outcomes are that he tells the truth, that he wasn't betting on baseball, and it's all good," he says. "If it does come out in the end that he was betting on baseball, then I don't feel bad about it."