NY Post Highlights the NFL Gambling Mess the League Keeps Making Worse by the Day

Written by:
Alejandro Botticelli
Published on:

NFL in gambling turmoil as Super Bowl heads for Las Vegas: ‘Just don’t understand’, a blaring headline reads on Wednesday's digital edition of the New York Post. 


Gambling911.com and other sports outlets continue to highlight the "in your face" hypocrisy surrounding its gambling policy.  It goes something like this:  Players are allowed to gamble on sports, just not on the NFL, and they can't do so from team facilities or while on the job.  Other NFL staff, including coaches, are forbidden from betting on sports.  The league will then suspend a bunch of players for violating the league gambling policy as they have in recent months.

Isaiah Rodgers, Rashod Berry, Demetrius Taylor were suspended indefinitely through at least the conclusion of the 2023 season for betting on NFL games in the 2022 season.  Add to that a whole bunch of Detroit Lions players. Rodgers, by the way, was quickly snatched up by the Philadelphia Eagles after the Colts severed ties with the star player.

“Why I agree with some of those bans on player betting even though it’s hypocritical is that the whole premise of professional sports is that the games are played on an even playing field,” prominent agent Leigh Steinberg told The Post. “If a player became compromised by a gambler, it would imperil the future of professional sports. We know bad behavior doesn’t do it. But someone who became in debt to a gambler who was tempted to shave performance would turn professional sports into wrestling.” 

Steinberg wants players to be prohibited from gambling.  It's a head scratcher that they're not.

In fact, things really got bizarre this week as it was announced current NFL players Daniel Jones, Deebo Samuel will be making regular appearances on a sports show produced by the largest US sportsbook in terms of market share, FanDuel.

Joe Brennan, Jr., who was instrumental in getting sports wagering legalized in the US through a legal push in the courts, could not help but point out the irony via his own Twitter feed.  After all, the NFL was perhaps the biggest impediment during this prolonged court battle.

"For 10 years, our effort to overturn the federal ban on betting was deemed a threat to the integrity of the game by the NFL. Now, two active players will be regulars on a Sportsbook’s betting show."

Mike Florio of Pro Football Weekly is among the most vocal when it comes to driving this hypocrisy to the forefront.

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.

The problem is likely to only get worse based on Ryan Dunleavy reporting in the Post.  He writes that only 26 of 53 players surveyed across teams by ESPN believe players understand the policy, even in light of all the suspensions.

He writes: "The best way to get through to players, coaches from different teams agreed, is not to preach morality, but to hit them where it hurts by pointing out that 'the money you are gambling with is going to be gone because you are not going to be in the NFL'.” 

“'Scare tactics' became less threatening, however, when the Jaguars traded for (Calvin) Ridley mid-suspension and the Eagles signed Isaiah Rodgers after he was cut by the Colts in conjunction with a suspension for betting on NFL games. Talent remains king."

With so many disenchanted players looking to be traded, betting on sports may be actually be a means of pushing teams to act.

Dunleavy notes that a Las Vegas-hosted Super Bowl is the culmination of what Steinberg described as the “most meteoric attitude change” on any once-taboo topic by professional sports.

- Alejandro Botticelli, Gambling911.com Senior Correspondent

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