Since the start of the year, close to a dozen National Football League (NFL) players have allegedly breached its policies related to gambling. Consequently, this resulted in actions by the League, including temporary and indefinite suspensions, penalizing the players that have allegedly breached those policies. While undoubtedly following the established rules is a must for athletes competing in any league, not everyone agrees that the NFL’s penalties are the appropriate measure for breaches related to its policies about gambling.
In a recent interview for USA Today, Sean Payton, the new coach of the Denver Broncos, criticized the NFL’s gambling policies. Only recently, Eyioma Uwazurike, the Denver Broncos’ defensive end, faced suspension after he allegedly breached NFL’s regulations for betting on League games. When Payton was asked for a comment on the topic, he said: “Shame on us.” Additionally, the Broncos’ coach pointed out: “And we’re going to send them home for a year, where they can’t be around. The idea that you just go away, shame on us.” Speaking about the suspensions related to the League’s gambling policies, he confirmed that lots of players were impacted since the start of the year.
Recently, the NFL reiterated its rules related to gambling. Those rules prohibit athletes from placing bets on NFL games and restrict them from gambling while staying at a hotel with their team, at a stadium or team facility or traveling for a game. Additional restrictions do not allow athletes to disclose any insider information and also ban them from asking third parties to place wagers on their behalf.
While the rules do not sound so complex, Payton, deemed the materials sent by the NFL to his team earlier this year as “awful.” He even asked the Broncos’ vice president of football operations and compliance, Mark Thewes, to revise the materials. Once this was done, Payton presented this version that was easier to understand and reiterated that the players must never bet on NFL games.
“It’s real simple for the players: You can’t bet on football. Period.“
Sean Payton, coach of the Denver Broncos
Speaking further about the NFL’s gambling policy, the Broncos coach even compared it to the League’s gun policy. “You can’t bet on nothing if you’re at your facility, your hotel, your airplane. So, wherever you can’t carry a gun, you can’t place a bet,” he said.
Earlier this year, a handful of NFL players from the Detroit Lions faced sanctions over alleged betting on League games. The number of players sanctioned continued to grow and is now getting close to a dozen, as more breaches of the gambling policies come to light month after month.