NFL Gambling Policy for Teams and Players Sent to Media, Agents Say Support is Minimal
The National Football League and other American sports franchises have suffered more than a few controversies since many states began to legalize sports betting.
This week, an attempt to show the public what it has been doing to educate teams on the guidelines has somewhat backfired.
On Monday, the NFL sent documents to football media outlet Pro Football Talk, or PFT, that detailed its 2023 gambling awareness training.
In those documents, the NFL said it “strongly encouraged all teams to have an in-person training presentation from a member of the NFL’s Compliance team.”
It also laid out six key rules, and said that “players must sign and acknowledge they have received the manual and its policies” each year.
Those six rules include “Don’t enter a sportsbook during NFL playing season,” and “Don’t have someone place a bet for you.”
Others are less clear, such as number three: “Don’t gamble at your team facility/stadium, while traveling for a road game, or staying at a team hotel.”
The very clear number one rule is: “Don’t bet on the NFL. Period.”
Out Of The Blue
However, that information won’t be getting through if it isn’t being delivered as promised.
Reporters at PFT spoke to people working for or with the NFL’s compliance team.
One agent said that, as far as they knew, many teams were only given the gambling policy documents for the first time after the League suspended five players in April for betting violations.
One of the five players involved said he “wasn’t aware of the situation” on the NFL’s gambling rules before the suspension.
Detroit Lions receiver James Williams received a six-game ban. Apparently, it was done without him being told which particular gambling policy he violated.
“It hit me out the blue,” Williams said at the time. “And it hit a couple other players around the league and on my team out the blue.”
Ultimately, the league found “no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way.”
But five gambling suspensions at once is embarrassing enough, even if competitive integrity wasn’t broken.
In another example, just last week, the NFL opened an investigation into Isaiah Rodgers of the Indianapolis Colts on suspicion of multiple years of betting violations.
Colts Head Coach Shane Steichen commented recently on the ongoing investigation into his team’s player and gambling among NFL team members more widely.
“All I’ll say on that is it’s an ongoing investigation with the NFL right have some questions about the gambling issue,” he said.
“All I’ll say on that is it’s an ongoing investigation with the NFL right now and we are constantly – it’s an ongoing process — educating our players, educating our coaches, on the situation.”
Back to this week, and PFT reporters found agents from the NFL’s program who have not once been asked to do an in-person session with a team.
“How do we have the opportunity?” one agent said. “Just show up at the Eagles facility and say let us in?”