The National Football League has been taking a lot of flack from many sources over the last few months regarding their policies surrounding gambling. While I don’t talk about the NFL a lot on this site, I felt that I would throw in my two cents on the issue.
For those of you that don’t closely follow the National Football League, the NFL explicitly forbids their players or anyone employed in the NFL to participate in any form of gambling, even legal gambling.
Personally, I believe that the NFL is entirely within their rights to enforce their non-gambling policy. The main purpose behind such a policy is that the NFL is trying to protect both their players and the game itself from having a negative influence by the world of gambling.
While many of you may wonder how men making Millions a year could be influenced, consider the fact that not all players make Millions a year. Rookies and non-star players in their early careers make just a few hundred thousand a year.
These are the guys who would be the easiest to target. Rack up some significant gambling debt that they can’t easily pay off, and then maybe a shady bookie or casino owner tries to get them to throw a game or make a game closer than it should be so they could cash in on it.
While this could seem a bit far fetched, what would happen to the NFL’s reputation if any type of serious game fixing allegations arose in connection to a player’s gambling problem. The repercussions on the league could be very costly, both in money and public perception.
Some of you out there may point out that some NFL players participate in poker tournaments. If you look closer at these events, you will discover that they are charity poker tournaments. The only reason that the NFL has allowed most of those to slide is because they do not award a cash prize to participant. Also, they did nix one event that was held at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas last year. Essentially, if the event is for charity and not in a casino, it is ok.
Outside of charity poker events, the ban on gambling in the NFL remains strong and is something that is needed to help protect the league. It may not be a popular stance among fans and even some players, but the integrity of the league is too important to gamble with.