In the wake of an offseason filled with gambling-related punishments across the NFL, changes have come about regarding the policy dictating betting on football and other sports. The league and NFLPA agreed to a revised policy, as first reported by CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones.
Under the new rules, players found to have bet on NFL games not involving their own team will be subject to indefinite suspensions of at least one year. That has been the case on a number of previous occasions, including Calvin Ridley last year and a pair of now ex-Colts – Isaiah Rodgers and Rashod Berry – in 2023. Notably, however, players who bet on games involving their club will be subject to a ban of at least two years.
Keeping in line with the stiffer punishments for football-related betting, the new policy also includes lifetime bans for players found culpable of “actual or attempted match fixing.” One-year suspensions are also in place for players who provide “inside information” for NFL-related bets. The threat of such moves being deemed necessary has become increasingly present in recent years given the league’s about-face on betting, having developed a highly lucrative relationship with gambling partners.
On the other hand, the punishments for gambling on non-NFL events has been lessened. Betting on such sports remains permitted outside of NFL facilities, but players who violate that section of the policy will no longer be subject to six-game bans. Instead, first-time offenders will face two-game suspensions, with the penalty rising to six games for second offenses and year-long bans for third violations. Given these changes, a pair of teams will have notable players return earlier than expected.
Lions wideout Jameson Williams and Titans right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere – both handed six-game bans for placing bets at NFL facilities – will be allowed to return to action in Week 5, Jones notes. Given their status as first offenders, the new, lighter penalties for non-NFL betting will see them in place ahead of their scheduled return date under the previous policy. Both players are expected to take on starting roles when they return to action, though a ramp-up period in practice should be expected before that takes place. Free agent receiver Stanley Berryhill will also be reinstated next week.
The league’s gambling policy is not subject to CBA negotiations, but NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero notes new NFLPA executive director Lloyd Howell spoke to commissioner Roger Goodell about “inconsistencies” in the previous policy. That has resulted in Friday’s news of signficant revisions for players, although no changes are believed to have been made for other team personnel. As a result, the indefinite ban issued to Jets WRs coach Miles Austin in December is not in line to be adjusted, nor are the penalties for NFL and non-NFL gambling slated to be softened for similar violations in the future.
“In recent weeks, we have consulted with many of you and with the NFL Players Association to ensure that out policies are clear, properly communicated, and focused on protecting the integrity of the game,” a memo from Goodell reads in part. “We are working with the [NFLPA] to develop a program to educate players regarding the changes to the policy.”
As was previously the case, gambling violations will be subject to review from Goodell on a case-by-case basis. With these revisions in place moving forward, though, further clarity on all sides will presumably be attained as the league aims to a avoid a repeat of the summer’s slew of punishments being learned of. With further incentives to avoid NFL-related gambling in particular, it will be interesting to see how effective the new policy is in the future.