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NFL prohibits any gambling by officials

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In the wake of catching wind of the NFL Referees Association’s intent to make an issue out of the fact that replacement official Shannon Eastin has participated in the World Series of Poker, we decided to track down the specific rules that apply to game officials regarding gambling.

The prohibition against gambling appears in the expired Collective Bargaining Agreement, which the league has confirmed applies to the replacement officials.

“Gambling is an unacceptable activity for Game Officials in the National Football League,” the policy states.  “Such activity constitutes conduct detrimental to the integrity of, and public trust in, the NFL.  Because it is the responsibility of the Game Officials to ensure the fairness of NFL play, including the complete confidence of the fans in the legitimacy of the game, it is critical that NFL Game Officials maintain the appearance of the highest ethical conduct.”

As a result, officials are prohibited during the season (from the preseason through the Pro Bowl) to “enter a horse or dog race track or a gambling casino, or bet on any game, or any other sporting event.”  Officials also are required to report to the league within 24 hours any entry into a horse or dog race track or casino during the offseason.  Throughout the year, officials may not associate with gamblers.

The question with replacement officials is whether past gambling activities should disqualify them from consideration, and whether their inclusion in the pool of replacement officials in any way undermines the integrity and credibility of the pool of replacements.

It’s a question that the NFL Referees Association will soon be raising as it relates to Eastin.

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35 Responses to “NFL prohibits any gambling by officials”
  1. thecanadiantraveler says: Aug 8, 2012 11:04 PM

    Where in this does it say there is anything wrong with a) playing poker or b) having gambled 5 years ago in WSOP… if they are forbidden during the season, that is one thing, but it seems from what is posted above anything done in the past is fair game?

  2. yssupasigninnamnotyep says: Aug 8, 2012 11:19 PM

    She was NOT an NFL referee at the time of her poker playing days, so this should obviously not apply.

    Please just give up on this subject already and concentrate on real football stories.

  3. spliffbunker says: Aug 8, 2012 11:21 PM

    the obvious question which you dont mention is was the NFL aware of this and/or did Shannon Eastin knowingly cover it up…

    if she wasnt asked I can see where she would not even think it was an issue

    it may come as a shock to you but I have seen NFL players and coaches gambling in casinos..

  4. ajpurp says: Aug 8, 2012 11:23 PM

    While I get the need to protect the league from turning into flag football by adding these somewhat sensitive rules because this litigation would either cause flag football or no football. If football is ever ruined by all these cootie rules(i.e. Not being able to lay a Lott/Butkus/Taylor hit on anyone anymore) I want all female referees. Plus I’m sick of roidin’ hulk hochuli. This should be the start of, instead of cheerleaders we never get to see, referees dressed as cheerleaders.

  5. mark0226 says: Aug 8, 2012 11:30 PM

    Poker is considered a game of skill, not a game of chance. I don’t see how playing poker affects the integrity of the NFL in any way.

  6. mjkelly77 says: Aug 8, 2012 11:35 PM

    I’d better come clean. I have to turn in Ed Hochuli. We played poker on numerous occasions in college. Sorry, Ed. You’re busted, buddy.

  7. vincentbojackson says: Aug 8, 2012 11:37 PM

    As long as this official is not currently gambling, this is a non-story.

    Who gives a rip about the officials anyway? The regular refs average about four bad calls a game. Can’t imagine the replacements will be much worse.

  8. blacknole08 says: Aug 8, 2012 11:37 PM

    Playing poker in a casino is gambling.. playing poker in a tournament with a cash prize for first place is not. She competed in a legal tournament so I don’t see what the real issue is here, other than bitter refs trying to find a loophole and have the nfl cave to their demands.

  9. eeerockski says: Aug 8, 2012 11:40 PM

    So theyre gonna be complaining about the fact she did nothing wrong? I dont see how this helps them at all.

  10. johnteedee says: Aug 8, 2012 11:50 PM

    Is poker gambling or a game of skill. Many states allow poker due to the wildly belief that it is game of skill and not a game of luck such as roulette or slot machines. If someone opens a small business is this gambling? Sounds like things are getting stretched to make a feeble point! So what if he plays poker. What does poker have to do with football or vice versa?

  11. tannethrill says: Aug 8, 2012 11:52 PM

    So they can go hog wild after the Pro Bowl going into the Super Bowl?

    Since the previous CBA is based on a league schedule that has the Pro Bowl after the Super Bowl it sounds like the refs have a backdoor at the very last week of the league year to gamble. Sounds like a serious conflict of interest to me for the Super Bowl.

  12. hannahduccab says: Aug 9, 2012 12:01 AM

    Da union…

  13. macdaddyspeed says: Aug 9, 2012 12:03 AM

    Why can’t they just bargain in good faith vs. throwing replacement folks under the bus? Do they really want to open this can o’ worms for the league to dig into the past of NFLRA members. Oh yeah, I don’t care, football is starting this week with or without the NFLRA.

  14. truthfactory says: Aug 9, 2012 12:21 AM

    The former refs are trying so hard to muster up any uproar they can about the replacement officials but it backfires at every turn.

    Why publicly point out their errors during a pre-season game when they’ve never tried embarassing their own refs like that over the last 10 years? There have been several terribly called games for them to pick from, but they just sat quietly through them without any public complaints about their own bad performances.

    Why try to call out something like a replacement ref participating in a legal game of poker in the past? Are we to believe that NONE of the regular refs ever particpated in any poker, slots, roulette, raffle etc in their life??

    It’s just sad… these guys make at a minimum $75,000 a year, and up to $100′s of thousands of dollars/ yr to work for at most 30 days of the year. Quit crying about lost pensions… they are a thing of the past for almost all Americans. Accept the ridiculous salaries you earn for what most of us would consider doing for free, or reject the NFL’s offer and move on with the rest of your lifes. The constant attempts at undermining the replacement refs is getting to be comical.

  15. thegreatgabbert says: Aug 9, 2012 12:25 AM

    Officials are forbidden to associate with race track dogs. However their seeing eye dogs are exempt.

  16. thegreatgabbert says: Aug 9, 2012 12:28 AM

    Lets see, Shannon is a poker shark and George worked in the Lingerie League. They sound like they could be the perfect couple.

  17. KIR says: Aug 9, 2012 12:41 AM

    Some of you all cheering on the owners aren’t going to be singing the same tune if these imposters cost your team a game or 2. lol

    It makes no sense. These guys are already the lowest paid officials in pro sports. I doubt if they’re fighting over more than 10 to 15 mil a year considering there are 32 teams that’s less than 400 to 500k per team. Don’t forget the owners just signed a 40 BILLION dollar TV contract. Yes, billion! Good ole Roger GODdell makes 20 million a year in salary.

  18. shawnc16 says: Aug 9, 2012 1:03 AM

    The NFLRA have really come off as jerks recently.

  19. jbl429 says: Aug 9, 2012 1:39 AM

    Easton’s past shouldn’t have any bearing here. She never bet on sports (as far as we know), only played in one of the biggest poker tournaments in existence. In no way does this mean that she’s more likely to play favorites on the field.

  20. upperdecker19 says: Aug 9, 2012 1:42 AM

    I bet she does a great job.

    Regards,
    Pete Rose

  21. fmwarner says: Aug 9, 2012 1:45 AM

    If the officials are only prohibited from gambling during the season, that means they’re only prohibited while they are working. The replacement officials were just hired. This makes no sense.

  22. trulyurkidding says: Aug 9, 2012 2:01 AM

    “Such activity constitutes conduct detrimental to the integrity of, and public trust in, the NFL. Because it is the responsibility of the Game Officials to ensure the fairness of NFL play, including the complete confidence of the fans in the legitimacy of the game, it is critical that NFL Game Officials maintain the appearance of the highest ethical conduct.”

    This is a business of perception and being a professional gambler would create the perception that violates the credo listed above.

    I wouldn’t put it past the league to have set aside their background check standards for the replacements credit history either – where there is smoke there is fire!

  23. bouwel92 says: Aug 9, 2012 2:02 AM

    And now we get to hear the butthurt “officals” whine and bitch, because they just found out how easily they can be replaced.

  24. Mr Mojo says: Aug 9, 2012 2:17 AM

    As a professional poker player, I can assure you poker is a game of skill. Gambling relies on short term luck versus long term mathematical edge that cannot be overcome.

  25. eurocard60 says: Aug 9, 2012 3:12 AM

    Firstly if the past is to be considered then there is a very high chance that every single official has sometime in their lives placed a bet of one form or another on some activity so almost all would be excluded from officiating and you would be hard pressed to find enough officials to make a single crew even if you were recruiting solely from the society of church referees.

    Secondly, as stated in the first comment, it applies only during the season.

    Thirdly, the question needs to be asked; is professional poker gambling? The skill level of the players at the highest level make it much more than a game of chance.

    Fourthly, I actually like the thought that a professional poker player, who is trained to see right through the lies being told by the people around the table, is going to be officiating, I think that gives them a definite edge!

  26. panamon says: Aug 9, 2012 3:21 AM

    NFLRA is reaching quite far with this, not a good look at all for them.

  27. dlmcc1010 says: Aug 9, 2012 4:53 AM

    I can see the intent, they dont want refs associaiting with that world. The last thing they need is some guy racking up gambling debts and some seedy character offering to make him a deal to erase that.

    However, this seems to be a stretch. Playing in a poker tournament 5 years ago shouldnt be the end of the world

  28. gtodriver says: Aug 9, 2012 7:03 AM

    KIR says:

    “It makes no sense. These guys are already the lowest paid officials in pro sports. I doubt if they’re fighting over more than 10 to 15 mil a year considering there are 32 teams that’s less than 400 to 500k per team. Don’t forget the owners just signed a 40 BILLION dollar TV contract. Yes, billion! Good ole Roger GODdell makes 20 million a year in salary.”

    One of the reasons they are the lowest paid is the fact they only work 20 days per season for the $75-111,000.00 per season they make.

    What the refs are demanding is a new contract that currently adds about $1500 per game to their salaries. That’s about a 27 – 40% pay increase – in this economy???

    The NFL has offered them a 5 – 11% pay increase ANNUALLY over the life of the new CBA.

    That’s more than fair.

  29. wiley16350 says: Aug 9, 2012 7:38 AM

    Some of you all cheering on the owners aren’t going to be singing the same tune if these imposters cost your team a game or 2. lol

    It makes no sense. These guys are already the lowest paid officials in pro sports. I doubt if they’re fighting over more than 10 to 15 mil a year considering there are 32 teams that’s less than 400 to 500k per team. Don’t forget the owners just signed a 40 BILLION dollar TV contract. Yes, billion! Good ole Roger GODdell makes 20 million a year in salary.
    __________________________________
    You act like the previous officials never cost a team a game before. Of course people will be mad if the officials cost their team a game, but it won’t be something new and it won’t be the first time and definately won’t be the last. Whether it is replacement or regular officials. Of course the NFL officials are the lowest paid in sports. They work the fewest amount of games, aren’t full-time and have other jobs that they do. From what I have read the NFL locked the officials out because the NFLRA said that they would strike. So the NFL had to prepare replacements so that the season wouldn’t be in jeopardy. To do that, they had to lock the current officials out. The two sides are in negotiations and both sides will do what they have to do to win. If the regular officials are so important then the NFL will succumb to their demands if the replacement officials are as bad as you think they will be. If the replacements are good and people aren’t complaining then it will be the NFLRA that succumbs. That’s the way it works. So only time will tell which way it goes.

  30. mikea311 says: Aug 9, 2012 8:17 AM

    she’d probably be good at reading the players bluff too.

  31. llewisraney says: Aug 9, 2012 9:06 AM

    This is the same scrutiny ALL the Officials are under, all the time. Detailed background checks usually take MONTHS before an NFL Official is seriously considered and rightly so. Their morals and integrity and lifelong ethics are as important as their on the field skills. I’m not saying Ms Easton has done anything wrong. I’m saying poker skills would be investigated thoroughly and at length for any NFLRA hire. If she is going to play with the big boys, she has to expect to play by their rules.

  32. yourignorancespreads says: Aug 9, 2012 9:07 AM

    I believe that if they have not practiced the standard rules and regulations of one that is trying to be a NFL official then I’m sorry they should not be allowed to officiate any NFL game wether that be preseason or regulars season and def post season. They are guidelines to becoming an official in the NFL and if you have not taken that sacrifice to apply for and go through the steps to becoming one then I’m sorry you should not be allowed to be put into a situation just because they feel the ones who who are qualified are seeking money that I def feel they rightfully deserve. And as far as a women officiating an NFL game I have no problem with that as long as they have been certified to do so by the procedures laid out by the officiating board. Because I that point I don’t see an official as a man it a woman I see them as a non biased element put into the game to keep it fair for all. So to be such a person of quality respect and integrity there are tests and training and sacrifices that have to be made to be such a person. And if you have not gone through all those test,procedures, training etc then I’m sorry your not fit to officiate in the NFL. Because you have not been certified to do so.

  33. yourignorancespreads says: Aug 9, 2012 9:32 AM

    Wait till the replacements cost your team games and then you be singing another tune. And say what You want about the original officials and how many games they have lost your team a game or two but that has been over years you can prob count up to 2 games they may have cost your team in a ten year span. now with these replacements coming in you prob see a game every year they will lose for you. Do the right thing here

  34. khuxford says: Aug 9, 2012 10:01 AM

    Bluffing doesn’t overcome the inherent role of chance in the cards dealt out. Until or unless someone has a skill that can change the flop or the river, GTFO with that “game of skill” nonsense. You can argue just as much math at play in gambling on professional sports.

  35. dougltc says: Aug 9, 2012 11:16 AM

    I’m not sure what all the hub-bub is about poker. Poker has been proven to be a game of skill, not a game of chance (gambling).

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