Pete Rose can joke about not being allowed in the hall of his own home in a commercial for Sketchers, but he won’t be able to joke about the latest allegations against him.
The clamor for Rose’s reinstatement after the showering of love he received during this year’s All-Star Game festivities in his hometown of Cincinnati may have taken a massive hit if the bombshell accusation he committed statutory rape are proven true.
Already banned from Major League Baseball for life for gambling on the game during his managerial career, Rose was accused of raping young girls by John Dowd, the investigator whose findings led to Rose’s banishment in 1989.
“Michael Bertolini [a Rose associate] told us that not only did he run bets, but he ran young girls for him down in spring training,” Dowd said in a July 13 interview with WCHE radio in West Chester, Pa. “Ages 12 to 14. Isn’t that lovely? So that’s statutory rape every time you do that.”
The 73-year-old Rose was quick to deny the claims when informed of them by NJ.com.
“Oh, my God!” Rose told the website. “Where was my family all of this time in spring training? I never went to spring training without my family except for my first year when I was a rookie … I don’t know why anybody would believe that. It’s unbelievable. That’s the best one so far.”
The rape allegations come just six weeks after an ESPN “Outside the Lines” report produced an alleged copy of a Bertolini notebook showing Rose also had bet on baseball as a player.
Before the release of that damaging report, Rose had petitioned MLB commissioner Rob Manfred for reinstatement.
Manfred, who had promised an unbiased look at the sentence, reportedly already has begun his investigation into Dowd’s comments.
Ray Genco, Rose’s attorney, used a strongly worded email to NJ.com to deny what could be the final straw to his client’s reinstatement campaign.
“… The statements were malicious, untrue and are categorically denied. They impact Pete’s family and I respect his instinct to immediately protect them,” Genco wrote.