New York Jets wide receivers coach Miles Austin has been suspended for a year for violating the league’s gambling policy, according to reports. Austin was allegedly betting $50 from time to time on basketball games, at the Jets facility, and wasn’t aware he couldn’t place bets on other sports. He is appealing the league’s decision.
“The NFL suspended Miles Austin for wagering from a legal mobile account on table games and non-NFL professional sports,” Miles’ attorney and agent P. Deni Jr. said. “Miles did not wager on any NFL game in violation of the Gambling Policy for NFL Personnel. He has been fully cooperative with the NFL’s investigation. He is appealing his suspension.”
The NFL believes its gambling policy is pretty clear when it comes to what is and isn’t allowed.
“All NFL Personnel other than Players are further prohibited from placing, soliciting, or facilitating bets on any other professional (e.g., NBA, MLB, NHL, PGA, USTA, MLS), college (e.g., NCAA basketball), international (e.g., World Baseball Classic, World Cup), or Olympic sports competition, tournament or event,” the policy states.
The NFL, like every other professional sports league, is suckling at the money teat of legalized online sports gambling. They have partnerships, run commercials every two seconds, have betting houses featured all over the stadiums, and there are shows dedicated solely to the purpose of wagering.
The NFL’s Odd Double Standard
Players can bet on any sport other than football. Yet coaches aren’t allowed to bet on any sport at all.
The league hands down its year long suspension almost immediately if any player or coach is found to violate the policy.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley is serving a suspension for the 2022 season for violating said policy.
Austin’s suspension also calls into question just how the league seems to have no rhyme or reason with how it delivers punishment.
The league engages with sports books as noted but somehow looks at $50 bets on other sports as an affront to competitive fairness.
Yet steroid suspensions get a six-game ban, domestic violence offenses also lead to six-game suspensions.
Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShaun Watson received an 11-game suspension for engaging in unwanted sexual acts in massage sessions. He settled more than a dozen civil suits on the matter.
The Gray Zone
Does the NFL really expect its fan base and the media to believe that it takes a hardline stance on gambling and is protecting the integrity of the game?
Now that online gambling is legal, there are dozens of ways that bets can be placed on NFL games on behalf of players and coaches without the league knowing anything about it.
Suspending an assistant coach betting $50 periodically on basketball games isn’t sending the message they think it is.
Legalized gambling poses many legitimate threats to the integrity of the game. But the NFL has long decided that the revenue generated from deals with sports books far outweighs that, and in the meantime they’ll just put on a show while they keep cashing those massive checks.