There is a significant double standard when it comes to the NFL and gambling. It was on full display in the days leading up to the start of the 2023 season.
On one end of the spectrum, the National Football League cracked down on its gambling policy during the offseason. Multiple players, including Lions star receiver Jameson Williams, were suspended in April. A second wave of suspensions hit in June. Others came later in the summer, including an indefinite suspension for Broncos defensive end Eyioma Uwazurike.
The NFL’s policy breaks down to six key points:
- Bets cannot be placed on the NFL.
- Bets cannot be placed while at the team facility, during travel for a road game, or at a team hotel.
- Someone else cannot place a bet on a player’s behalf.
- Sharing “inside information” is strictly prohibited.
- Players cannot enter a sportsbook during the NFL season.
- Players cannot play daily fantasy football.
That’s about it. Most of the recent suspensions stemmed from a violation of the second point. Multiple players were placing bets on non-NFL games inside of the team facility. Some of them may never see the field again.
Meanwhile, however, the NFL is actively promoting the very thing that led to the suspensions.
The NFL’s stance on gambling is backwards.
Kansas City and Detroit will play in the first game of the year on Thursday night. Williams will not play because he is suspended — for gambling.
And yet, at the very same time, the Chiefs are actively pushing fans to join a sportsbook. They posted a graphic that encouraged bets on the point total.
Rules for thee, but not for me!
NFL players should not be allowed to bet on NFL games. That makes sense.
However, to suspend a player for placing a bet in the same facility in which the social media team is promoting sports betting seems contradictory. The NFL is speaking out of both sides of its mouth.