For many years, the National Football League was adamant about no betting on its games. That is, until the owners figured out how to profit from it. Now sportsbooks have ads in stadiums and are broadcast during games. There are actually sportsbooks in some stadiums. But things are a little bit different for the players. Not only are they not directly profiting from sports betting, they’re restricted in how they can partake in it. That doesn’t sit well with the player’s union, who argue the NFLPA gambling rules need to be revised and updated.
The union does agree with the league that players betting on NFL games is a bad look. It’s not looking to change the NFLPA gambling rules there. But it’s the betting on other sports and the location bets are made that is the biggest concern.
Players don’t see a problem if they’re betting online from the locker room as long as it’s not on football games. Especially since the rules allow them to drive home and place the same bet without any consequence.
League Makes Concessions in September
The NFL made some concessions over the NFLPA gambling rules in September. Players who bet on non-NFL games from team facilities saw the suspensions reduced from six games to two games. The league also reduced several six-game suspensions to four games. The NFLPA saw that as a positive move.
But the league also increased penalties for betting on NFL games at the same time. A player found to be betting on his team will see a two-year suspension. Players betting on NFL games not involving their team can be handed a one-year suspension. But the union had no complaints there.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday during a press conference 25 league employees and 13 players violated the league’s gambling policy.
“We’ve actually terminated employees,” he said.“If they were betting on the NFL, you’re terminated automatically. That’s just that.”
Goodell said anything that gives the image of impropriety is strictly off-limits.
“The integrity of our game is critical,”Goodell said. “And so we spend a lot of time focusing on that, educating, making sure that all of our personnel are aware of our gambling policies, in this case or any other policy that can affect the integrity of our game. So, ultimately, that’s our primary job.”
NFLPA Vice President Calais Campbell, who plays for the Atlanta Falcons, said the league’s gambling rules are outdated. He believes fans know that an NFL player betting on a non-NFL game has nothing to do with the integrity of the league.
The player’s union also brought up playing surfaces during its time with the media. The NFLPA believes artificial surfaces increase the likelihood for injuries. A survey of players showed 92% preferred to play on grass fields as opposed to turf.
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