Rodgers and Colts teammate Rashod Berry are suspended through at least the conclusion of the 2023 season for betting on NFL games in the 2022 season. The Colts waived both players after the suspensions were handed down.
“We have made the … roster moves as a consequence of the determination that these players violated the league’s gambling policy,” said Colts General Manager Chris Ballard in a statement posted on the team’s website.
Demetrius Taylor, a former defensive tackle with the Detroit Lions, also received a full-year suspension for wagering on NFL contests last season.
In addition, the NFL suspended Titans offensive lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere for six games for betting on non-NFL sports at the club facility. He is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason activities, including preseason games, the league said.
In a statement to ESPN, Petit-Frere said, “The betting I engaged in was NOT NFL related and was legal under Tennessee law. It is only being sanctioned because it occurred at the Titans facility.” The Titans posted a statement on the team’s website, saying, “We have been made aware of Nick’s suspension by the league. We believe in Nick and know that he has deep respect for the integrity of the game and our organization. We will continue to emphasize to our players the importance of understanding and adhering to league rules and policies.”
When reached by Sports Handle on Thursday, an NFL spokesman declined to comment on the specifics of any of the four cases.
Revamped training procedures
In early June, Sports Handle broke a story detailing rampant betting activity involving a Colts player. According to a source with first-hand knowledge of the activity, the player made hundreds of wagers on sports, including some on the Colts to win. ESPN later reported that Rodgers was the player in question, a report Rodgers seemingly confirmed in a post on his Instagram account.
The NFL did not address in Thursday’s statement whether the league determined through its investigation that Rodgers wagered on his team to win. Berry, an outside linebacker from Ohio State University, was signed by the Colts off the Jaguars practice squad in January.
According to ESPN, Rodgers’ largest bet featured a successful $1,000 wager at an unnamed sportsbook on a teammate to hit the over on a total rushing yard prop.
“What’s the upside, fellas? You’re making seven-eight figures out here and you’re sitting around prop betting?” said former Patriots guard Damien Woodley, now an analyst on ESPN’s NFL Live, on Thursday. “When you talk about gambling, that directly correlates to the integrity of the game. Why are you putting yourselves out there like that?”
Under NFL league rules, a player cannot wager on any sport from inside a league or club facility or on a team bus or team plane or in a team hotel. Moreover, players cannot bet on NFL events from any location. The prohibition covers wagers on the NFL Draft, player props, and on the competitions offered during the Pro Bowl.
In the wake of the recent investigations and suspensions, the NFL has implemented new training measures for league employees in an effort to educate players on the consequences of violating the sports betting policy. Ironically, Colts coach Shane Steichen confirmed that, the same week the Rodgers news broke, NFL personnel made an appearance at his team’s facility as part of the league’s offseason training program to explain the intricacies of the gambling policy to players.
As of last week, the NFL has hosted seminars on the league’s gambling policy with 14 teams this offseason, with plans to meet with six additional clubs in the coming weeks, according to Sabrina Perel, the NFL’s chief compliance officer.
Last week, Perel appeared on a virtual conference call with reporters to discuss the league’s gambling policy and game integrity training. There, she emphasized that the NFL has no plans to relax league rules on betting from the workplace. If the NFL’s main objective associated with controlling sports betting is to protect the integrity of the game, gambling in the workplace cannot be allowed, she said.
Since the beginning of the 2023 offseason, nine NFL players have been suspended for violations of the league’s sports betting policy. Of the five players suspended by the NFL in April, three received full-season suspensions for wagering on league events.
While noting that some European soccer players are allowed to bet on other sports, former All-Pro quarterback Boomer Esiason weighed in on the rash of NFL gambling incidents on Thursday morning.
“I know for a fact that the Jets and Giants, in OTAs and minicamps, went over these policies with their teams incessantly so they know what they can and cannot do,” Esiason said on his radio show, Boomer and Gio. “It’s on the player to be the professional that you’re supposed to be … and protect that league’s integrity by not betting on the league.”
All 32 NFL teams are scheduled to begin training camp in July. The preseason opens on Aug. 3 when the Cleveland Browns take on the New York Jets in the 2023 Hall of Fame Game.