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Sports betting scandal continues to rock NFL

Nicholas Petit-Frere
Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere

Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere” by Tennessee Titans is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 .

The specter of sports betting continues to linger over the NFL with the news that three players have been suspended for the entire 2023 season for betting on games last season.

Indiana Colts defensive end Rashod Berry, cornerback Isaiah Rodgers and free agent Demetrius Taylor all received the suspension while Tennessee Titans right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere was suspended for six games for betting on other sports.

Petit-Frere is allowed to take part in off-season and pre-season games and practices. For Rodgers and Berry though, this season-long suspension also meant that they have both been released by the Colts.

NFL sports betting violations

This isn’t the first instance, even this year, of NFL players falling foul of its strict regulations on betting. In April, Jameson Williams was one of five players banned when they were found to have broken the rules.

Jameson, last year’s NFL Draft first-round pick, was suspended for the first six games of the 2023 season, along with Detroit Lions receiver Stanley Berryhill, while their team-mates Quintez Cephus and CJ Moore, along with Washington Commanders’ defensive end Shaka Toney were given full-season suspensions.

Cephus and Moore were released by the Lions, who pledged to work with Williams and Berryhill to ensure that they understand the severity of their violations and have clarity on the rules going forwards.

This clarity seems to have been missing in the most recent violations too, with Petit-Frere insisting that even after attending a league presentation on sports betting, he was unaware that he wasn’t allowed to place bets from a team facility.

Unluckily for Rodgers and Berry, there was little sympathy from the Colts, with general manager Chris Ballard explaining their swift decision to release them both: “We have made the following roster moves as a consequence of the determination that these players violated the league’s gambling policy.

“The integrity of the game is of the utmost importance. As an organization, we will continue to educate our players, coaches, and staff on the policies in place and the significant consequences that may occur with violations.”

Changing laws and regulations

The issue of sports betting in the NFL dates back to 2018 when the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which had previously restricted regulated sports betting to Nevada since 1992. 

The NFL had been against that move at the time but made allowances for it after the ruling, including letting players bet on other sports – albeit not while at a team facility, which is where Petit-Frere fell foul, with the NFL having used geolocation to identify where he had placed the bets.

The most important rule though is that no NFL personnel – which includes league-office employees, team employees, players, owners, coaches, trainers, officials, security and stadium workers – are allowed to place a bet on any NFL-related event. 

This is primarily in order to ensure that there are no allegations of game manipulation in order to make money from betting. So far the NFL has not found any evidence of game manipulation in relation to the betting violations that have been identified.

Written and distributed by Chat T Sports.

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