On Monday, the floodgates and/or Pandora’s box opened. (Chris Simms learned on Tuesday’s PFT Live that Pandora refers to something other than a music service.) On Wednesday, Peter King of SI.com has sounded the alarm (a little) about the potential problems that gambling can cause for the NFL, along with some of the questions it raises.
“If the NFL prohibits players from betting on football games, and a player is found to have done so, will he be suspended the same length of games a player gets whacked for PEDs? More games? Less?” King writes. “Will the NFL have to employ a gambling czar? And 32 enforcements officers, one per team, to make sure there’s no funny business going on? Will the NFL have its own Pete Rose case?”
For all we know, the NFL already has had its own Pete Rose case. And its own Tim Donaghy case. And, quite possibly, plenty of players and coaches providing inside information about game plans and injuries and non-injuries to people who would pay very good money for that enhanced knowledge.
The point is that gambling has been around for decades. Making it more prevalent and acceptable by the general public shouldn’t corrupt the sport any more than the widespread ability to play fantasy football for money.
Then again, maybe fantasy football for money already has corrupted the sport, with players and/or coaches secretly involved in high-stakes leagues (possibly through a third party), using what they know about the games and/or how they can affect them to make plenty of money on the side.
The point is that the temptation to do things that the NFL doesn’t want players and coaches to do as it relates to the “integrity of the game” won’t suddenly appear with eventual gambling on a widespread basis. If anything, the prevalence of legalized gambling will make it harder for players and coaches to get away with it.
King, by the way, will be spending a full hour in studio during Wednesday’s PFT Live, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Radio. I have a feeling that this topic may come up.