In a largely anonymous survey conducted by ESPN, a number of NFL players took issue with part of the league’s sports gambling policy.
Amid a flurry of suspensions sparked from NFL players violating the league’s betting rules, some players voiced concern with the aspect of the policy that prohibits any sort of sports betting to be conducted on league grounds.
This means that NFL players cannot partake in any sort of sports gambling, including on mobile devices, while they’re present at team facilities. This could extend to airplane trips, hotel stays and other team-related places.
This policy has led to three NFL players, including Detroit Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams, Tennessee Titans tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere and free agent wide receiver Stanley Berryhill, receiving six-game suspensions.
According to ESPN, 22 players of the 53 surveyed in the report felt that the policy should be amended to allow for non-NFL sports betting at team facilities.
“If a guy’s in the facility betting on the NBA Finals,” Washington Commanders punter Tress Way told ESPN. “I have a tough time seeing how that’s a big deal. But it’s not my call. Maybe in time we’ll see ways to clarify.”
One anonymous player suggested that the rules need to be more clearly defined when it came to non-NFL betting on team grounds.
“So, if I walk across the street and place a bet, is that legal?” the player asked. “If I walk out of the building, is that legal? I think there needs to be some more specifics on it.”
One anonymous player told ESPN that there was definite confusion among players for how this part of the policy operated.
“Everybody understood not betting on NFL games,” the player said. “But I think a lot of us, even including myself, was not aware of not being able to bet on other sports, especially when it came on league time — in team hotels, on the bus. You would think it was just in the facility. I don’t think a lot of guys truly understood what it meant by ‘when you [are] on the league’s time.’”
Another player on the basis of anonymity said that the policy feels a bit hypocritical with the league’s heavy involvement with sports betting companies.
“Honestly, if guys aren’t betting on NFL games, I don’t think guys should be suspended at all — especially since [legal gambling] is something that’s being pushed,” the NFL player said. “It’s being promoted. It’s being publicized and advertised. I don’t care if it’s during league hours or in the building.”
One player kept his thoughts pretty bluntly when it came to how the policy operates for NFL players.
“You’re telling me that if I walk 10 feet from the [facility’s] door it doesn’t matter anymore?” the player said. “I just think that’s kind of dumb. It’s pointless. I don’t see how that’s helping anything.”
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