Thank you Jay for being conscientious about the public perception of our sport. I consider it a very wise move to steer them away from gambling. It is a little less taboo in our society now considering we have so many casinos around the country and online access, but why play with fire, right? The piece on Johnson City in the 60's set our sport back a lot. We aren't even close to breaking the stigma of a "hustler" anytime soon. So, it's in the sports best interest to keep these prize money increasing and public exposure positive. YouTube and streaming have opened the eyes of many who are interested. Pool players don't do anything that golfers, poker players, or basketball players don't do, except make the big money. We all know the greedy bastards in the world will sell their brother out to make a dollar. Let's hope 60 minutes stays true to their word. I'm slightly optimistic, but I would wager they will brush across the subject in the interview no matter how briefly it may be.Jon had EVERYTHING to do with this story! He and I began talking about doing a piece on the sport of pool in 2019. He told me he was working on it and then the pandemic hit, so it got put on hold for two years. In early December 2021 Jon called me and said I would be getting contacted by one of the producers of the show. She called me a couple of days later and we talked for some time. She inquired when there would be an event where they could meet the players. It was right before Turning Stone and too late for that, so I suggested DCC since I suspected all the top players would be there. She asked me who should they meet and I suggested Shane, Dennis and Filler first off as three of the best current players. I also told her about Jayson's feat in beating the historic record of Mosconi.
We talked several times during the next month or so and they asked me to meet them at DCC to guide them around. They paid all my expenses, God bless them. I intro'd them to many of the top players there and they did quite a bit of filming the proceedings, even going upstairs to the Action room. They also focused on the important matches going on in the Accu-Stats arena. As you know Dennis was not able to make it to DCC, so he got scrubbed from the show. Jon was not able to make it to DCC due to other committments, but he was the one that later conducted interviews with Shane, myself and some of the other players. The Producers (Kaylee and Natalie) also did some of their own interviews in Jon's absence.
I made it clear from the beginning that I did not want to take part in a "hit" piece on pool and they assured me that the gist of the story was about the professional aspect of the game. I shared with them how our sport was growing exponentially with all the new events and increased prize money. That first month (January of this year) Fedor Gorst won over 90K and for me that was proof of what I was telling them. I flew to New York in late February and was interviewed by my old friend Jon W. for over three hours, where we talked about everything it seemed. He did try to draw me out on my gambling episodes but I was reluctant to talk too much about that stuff. I felt that the focus should remain on the the sport itself and how it was growing as a pro sport. I did share with him that gambling matches did still take place but for the top players the major tournaments were much more important. There was good money to be made (with little risk) and a lot of prestige which can lead to sponsorship opportunities. The top players were actually beginning to make a real living as pro pool players!
I have absolutely no control over what they decide to air from over a hundred hours of taping, but my hunch is it will be good for pool. 60 Minutes always does quality reports and what I observed was high quality and integrity in everything they were doing. They requested that I ask permission from the high rollers before filming them playing upstairs. If either one said no then they took a pass.
There's probably more I could add to this, but just like you I'm looking forward to seeing the final version that goes on the air. For someone like me who has tried to grow the sport for decades I'm enthused by what I see tournament wise and by the increased interest from major media sources like 60 Minutes. Maybe we will see the day when there is real money to be made in pool and it is accepted as a major sport. Now that would be cool and I could rest easy.
P.S. I shared with them about the long ago 60 Minutes piece on UJ Puckett and how he and Harry Reasoner from 60 Minutes became fast friends during the shoot and for a long time afterwards. They went into the archives and found the story and told me how much they enjoyed it.