UPDATE 2:30 p.m.: 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.
Starting pitcher Jarred Cosart came to the Miami Marlins last summer hoping for a fresh start after a sometimes-rocky tenure with the Houston Astros. Instead, he finds himself this morning amid a Twitter storm of allegations tying him to gambling. MLB is now looking into the claims, a spokesman tells New Times.
Cosart's troubles started last night with a gambling expert on Twitter alleging he'd direct messaged a colleague asking for betting advice. Cosart later deleted his own account as tweets piled up accusing him of gambling and speculating whether he'd ever bet on baseball, which would be a serious violation of the game's rules.
Before jumping into the tale, it's worth noting: The entire firestorm stems from essentially anonymous Tweets from so-called gambling experts on Twitter. In other words, these are not the most reliable or transparent sources on the internet. So take every allegation with a Marlins Park-sized grain of salt.
The claims originated with a Twitter user named @GhostFadeKillah, who Tweets regular betting advice (and, it's worth noting, includes among his activities "also troll a bit here and there.") New Times has messaged @GhostFadeKillah for more background on the story, but we haven't heard back yet.
Around 9 o'clock last night, he Tweeted out a supposed direct message between Cosart's account, @JarredCosart, and a colleague:
The tweet quickly picked up steam across the gambling-focused corners of Twitter, with Cosart inundated with tweets about the supposed conversation. Within an hour, Cosart had deleted his account:
Made an MLB player delete his Twitter account. Lulz.— Ghostfade Killah (@ghostfadekillah) March 25, 2015
The story picked up more steam this morning, when site Total Frat Move picked up the story and wrote that Cosart "may have unintentionally revealed that he bets on sports." That piece then got picked up by sports talk radio in Miami this morning, where the story has been a hot topic of conversation.
Now, Pat Courtney, Major League Baseball's chief communications officer, confirms to New Times that the league is looking into the allegations.
That's not a surprise. Along with performance-enhancing drugs, MLB has long viewed gambling as the direst threat to the sport — a view cemented after revelations that Pete Rose had bet on the game. Today, MLB's Department of Investigation launches a full probe into any allegation — however flimsy — that a player has been tied to gambling.
As for Cosart, the 24-year-old pitcher has stayed silent this morning so far. New Times left messages with the Miami Marlins as well as Cosart's agent, Texas-based Erik Burkhardt, but we haven't heard back yet.
This isn't the first time Cosart's Twitter account has landed him in hot water. He had to apologize last year for using a gay slur on Twitter while slamming Justin Bieber. (Though he told the Herald last summer he didn't regret using the term.)
We'll continue updating this story as more information comes out.
UPDATE: Cosart has seemingly now responded to the allegations. A new account that's supposedly his new official Twitter home alleges that his account had been hacked to create the direct message conversations. As with all things Twitter, view the latest response with caution until confirmed; we've messaged the Marlins to try to confirm 100 percent that this is Cosart's new official account:
Around two weeks ago, my Twitter account was accessed by someone else. They began to send incriminating DM's to a number of accounts (1/3)— Jarred Cosart (@CosartJL) March 25, 2015
to make it appear that I am addicted to gambling & have bet on baseball. I did not realize that this was happening until last evening. (2/3)— Jarred Cosart (@CosartJL) March 25, 2015
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There will likely be more "screenshots" released in the coming days. I have not, nor will I ever, bet on the game of baseball.— Jarred Cosart (@CosartJL) March 25, 2015
UPDATE 2: The Miami Marlins have issued a short statement on the allegations, saying, "Major League baseball is aware and they are investigating it and we have no further comment at this time," Manny Navarro reports.
UPDATE 3 (12:03 pm): The Twitter account that claimed to be Cosart's official new account has now also been deleted. Make of that what you will. We'll update this post if we get another statement from Cosart's camp.