In a recent announcement made on Thursday, the National Football League (NFL) dropped the hammer on four players who were found to have violated the league’s strict gambling policy.
The Indianapolis Colts were hit the hardest, with two of their players, Isaiah Rodgers and Rashod Berry, facing indefinite suspensions through at least the conclusion of the 2023 season. Their sins? Betting on NFL games during the 2022 season. Joining them in the suspended ranks is free agent Demetrius Taylor, who also participated in the prohibited gambling activities.
Nicholas Petit-Frere, from the Tennessee Titans, is not getting away scot-free either. He will have to sit out the team’s first six regular-season games of the upcoming 2023 season. The reason for his suspension? Betting on non-NFL sports within the club’s facility, a clear breach of the league’s stringent rules.
For Rodgers, Berry, and Taylor, there might be a glimmer of hope. They can file a petition for reinstatement once the 2023 season comes to a close. However, the Colts wasted no time and swiftly waived Rodgers and Berry in light of the indefinite suspensions.
Colts General Manager, Chris Ballard, expressed the team’s stance on the issue in a strongly worded statement, “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.”
The NFL’s gambling policy is crystal clear and forbids any form of gambling within club or league facilities, including practice centers, as per the league rules.
The Tennessee Titans released a statement in response to Petit-Frere’s suspension, showing their continued support for the player, “WE HAVE BEEN MADE AWARE OF NICK’S SUSPENSION BY THE LEAGUE. WE BELIEVE IN NICK AND KNOW THAT HE HAS DEEP RESPECT FOR THE INTEGRITY OF THE GAME AND OUR ORGANIZATION. WE WILL CONTINUE TO EMPHASIZE TO OUR PLAYERS THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING AND ADHERING TO LEAGUE RULES AND POLICIES.”
Thursday’s announcement is just the latest in a series of offseason gambling suspensions in 2023. Earlier in the year, on April 21st, the league imposed suspensions on Lions receivers Jameson Williams, Quintez Cephus, Stanley Berryhill, and safety C.J. Moore, along with Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney, all for violating the NFL’s strict gambling policy.
Despite the NFL’s ongoing efforts to inform and educate each player about the gambling policy, there seems to be no shortage of violations. Many clubs have decided to take a firm stance, treating such offenses as grounds for immediate termination. Presently, only Petit-Frere, Williams, and Toney have managed to hold onto their spots within their respective teams after serving their suspensions.