I recall that years ago, the NFL said that they would not put a team in Las Vegas because of the city’s ties to gambling. We’d often hear the words “integrity of the league” attached to thoughts of the league going to Vegas. Yet in 2020, the Oakland Raiders moved to Sin City where a $2B stadium awaited them. Today, despite Roger Goodell’s previous fake disdain for gambling, among the league’s biggest marketing partners are DraftKings, FanDuel and Caesars. The NFL is now all-in on gambling. For Goodell, gambling has suddenly become more morally principled. What a hypocrite.
Last year, perhaps even lured in by the league’s new love interest in gambling, Falcons WR Calvin Ridley placed bets on his team to win via various parlays, to the tune of $1500, per Forbes Magazine. Even two of the league’s most recognizable personalities, Peyton and Eli Manning, regularly host VIP viewing parties at Caesars in Las Vegas.
But after crossing the line and placing his bets, while he was convalescing during a leave of absence from the Falcons, the league suspended Ridley indefinitely but for no less than the 2022 season. Meanwhile, Deshaun Watson visits with over 60 massage therapists during the course of 17 months, nearly half of which file formal complaints. The league in their ever-infinite wisdom, chooses to focus in on only a handful of the cases and then they bring in a third-party, Judge Sue Robinson to decide on the case.
In her 16-page ruling, Judge Robinson concluded that Watson DID commit egregious acts; that he DID lie under oath; and that he DID fail to show remorse. And then she concluded that Watson deserves a 6-game suspension and NO FINE. Oh, and because of the way his new contract with the Browns is structured, he’ll lose less than $1M during his suspension.
Meanwhile for placing a few bets, a form of entertainment that the league whole-heartedly endorses, Ridley gets at least a year suspension and loses his $11.1M salary.
The league has until Thursday, August 4 to appeal the decision.
I’m not holding my breath.
Integrity of the league my ass!
It always has been and always will be about the almighty dollar for Goodell and the league’s more influential owners. Good luck with the blow back from sponsors whose products may be boycotted by the very audience the league is trying to grow – women!