NFL Gambling Policy: Nothing Pertaining to Agents?

Written by:
Don Shapiro
Published on:
Jul/07/2023

The NFL just announced a series of additional suspensions for violation of the league's gambling policy, all the while enjoying a cozy relationship with the likes of FanDuel and DraftKings.

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NFL Gambling Policy: Nothing Pertaining to Agents? (July 7, 2023)

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports Friday morning that the NFL, NFLPA have no specific gambling policy for agents.

This comes to light in the days following another series of player suspensions for allegedly violating the league's confusing - and some would say hypocritical - gambling rules.

The NFL’s gambling policy applies to a broad range of “NFL Personnel.” The policy does not apply to agents, Florio notes.

Per a union spokesperson, the regulations regarding NFLPA-certified agents has no specific gambling clause, “but they are implicitly covered in language that prohibits violations of federal and state laws.”

The state of Michigan specifically prohibits sports agents across the board from gambling, but that is state-specific and not common among other US states that regulate sports wagering.

Beyond the existence of a rule, there must be an investigation and enforcement mechanism. How would the NFLPA even know to start looking into a potential violation? Would it simply be the byproduct of a criminal prosecution that quite possibly would never happen?

That’s the rule (or non-rule) for NFLPA-certified agents. There are other representatives of NFL figures who have no regulation at all. For example, those who represent coaches and executives have no body that regulates their behavior. Also, players who are officially representing themselves are often using a non-certified NFLPA agent, who falls beyond the reach of the union.

Pro Sports Care More About Gambling Than Violence Against Women and Racism (July 6, 2023)

Deadspin's Carron J. Phillips writes that  "if you’re talented or rich enough, it’s becoming clear what will and won’t be forgiven in sports."

Wouldn’t it be great if sports took racism and violence against women this seriously from the jump? Imagine where we would be if that happened.

But, for something like that to occur it would mean that society, let alone sports, would have to take a stand against both transgressions — and we know that’s a pipedream.

Now, it seems like the rest of the sports world is following the NFL’s lead — as it often does. And once you realize that the NFL is usually a mirror of society, it becomes quite clear why racism and violence against women are easily forgiven while “gambling” is a blasphemous offense.

Three players,  included Isaiah Rodgers, Rashod Berry, and Demetrius Taylor, were suspended by the league in recent weeks for violating the gambling policy.  These suspensions are indefinite.

Rogers issued a statement following the suspension saying he takes “full responsibility” while adding that he made an “error in judgment”.

Colts Cut Players After Gambling Suspensions (July 2, 2023)

Indianapolis is down two veterans going into camp.

Isaiah Rodgers and Rashod Berry are out for the season and are out of Indianapolis as well.

"We ... made the roster moves as a consequence of the determination that these players violated the league's gambling policy," Ballard said in a team statement. "The integrity of the game is of the utmost importance. As an organization we will continue to educate our players, coaches and staff on the policies in place and the significant consequences that may occur with violations."

Rodgers is widely believed to have bet on his own team.

He reportedly won a $1,000 bet related to his own team. Rodgers placed a $1,000 prop bet on the over/under rushing yards by a Colts running back last season, according to David Purdum of ESPN.

Chris "Mad Dawg" Russo Calls NFL Commish a 'Hypocrite' in the Wake of More Gambling Suspensions (June 30, 2023)

Chris "Mad Dawg" Russo had a few choice words for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell following the latest round of suspensions against players who are alleged to have violated the league's gambling policy.

“I’m not sure what the solution is with players. I understand you can’t have the whole league play fantasy football and gamble. Maybe you lower the suspensions. Maybe you give them a game suspension.

"But a year suspension for a league that is in bed with FanDuel, DraftKings, and every gambling establishment known to man. They put a Super Bowl in Las Vegas on the strip, where you can go out there and bet the games. And I guarantee, if you go out to Vegas this year, you’ll see Roger betting. You don’t think Roger’s going out there, playing a little bit?”

It's a hypocritical position to be taking and the NFL is really taking some heat of late for it.

Patriots corner had some strong words for NFL after the suspensions.

“I understand rules are rules, But I can risk my life so that my team wins but I can’t risk 1k on my team winning?" (the "huh?" emoji). 

NFL Suspends Four Players for Violation of Gambling Policy (June 29, 2023)

Per ESPN, Isaiah Rodgers and Rashod Berry of the Indianapolis Colts and free agent Demetrius Taylor are being suspended indefinitely -- through at least the 2023 season -- for betting on NFL games last season.

In addition, Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere is being suspended six games for betting on other sports at the workplace.

In a statement to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Petit Frere said Thursday, "the betting I engaged in was NOT NFL related and was legal under Tennessee law. It is only being sanctioned because it occurred at the Titans facility.

"I want to apologize to my family, coaches, teammates and the Titans fans. I have always strived in every stage of my life to follow the rules. I did not knowingly break the rules. Even after attending a league presentation, I was unaware about the specifics around placing bets from a team facility.

"I will do everything in my power to help the team during training camp and will be prepared when I return to the roster during the season."

NFL No Issue Promoting Gambling, No Problem Suspending Players for it (June 29, 2023)

CBS Sports: Isaiah Rodgers Among Those to be Suspended for Violating League Gambling Rules (June 29, 2023)

Colts veteran Isaiah Rodgers is one of several NFL players facing full-season 2023 suspensions as part of the league's latest investigation into gambling allegations, according to CBS Sports NFL insider Jonathan Jones.

Two people familiar with the plans also advised The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The suspension is expected to last at least a year.

More Gambling Suspensions Coming By Week's End (June 28, 2023)

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (an arm of NBC Sports) has been doing an admirable job of covering the hypocrisy surrounding the National Football League's gambling policy and its attempts to reign in players while reaping the rewards of US regulated sports betting partnerships.

ESPN warns of more suspensions coming by week's end.  We don't know who or how many, though Indianapolis Colts' Isaiah Rodgers is being named in media reports.

The good news is that the league seems to be trying harder, when it comes to properly educating players. The bad news is that flaws seem to remain.

Florio writes:

And they surely will. As previously mentioned, it becomes difficult for the NFL to have true moral authority when it comes to properly enforcing “thou shalt nots” when the NFL is stuffing its pockets full of cash from those who shalt continue to lose it.

Only when the league creates a true firewall between football and wagering will the league truly be equipped to create safeguards that players can understand, honor, and accept — especially since the entire situation currently oozes with hypocrisy.

- Don Shapiro, Gambling911.com

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