Broncos coach Sean Payton rips NFL’s gambling policy language after Eyioma Uwazurike’s suspension

Eyioma Uwazurike was the 10th player since April to be suspended for violating the league's betting rules

The NFL’s gambling policy, at least according to Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton, is way too confusing.

Broncos defensive lineman Eyioma Uwazurike was suspended indefinitely Monday for gambling on NFL games last season, the league announced. He was the 10th player since April who has been suspended for violating the gambling policy.

Though he’s not excusing Uwazurike’s violation, Payton says the policy is isn’t helping.

“When you have a bunch of players getting D’s, you have to start looking at the message,” Payton told USA Today. “And we’ve had a lot of D’s in our league this year with the policy.”

Uwazurike was suspended for a full season Monday for placing bets during the 2022 season. He isn’t eligible to apply for reinstatement until 2024. It’s unclear if Uwazurike bet on Broncos games.

The NFL first suspended then-Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley for the 2022 season. He was the first player suspended since the widespread legalization of sports betting in 2018. The league has embraced sports gambling since then, and has multiple partnerships with different sports books.

As it stands, NFL personnel are prohibited from betting on NFL games in all circumstances, regardless of where they are when they place the bet or who they place it through. They are also not allowed to place any bets or engage in gambling activity while at team facilities. NFL players can bet on sports outside of football.

When trying to better explain gambling rules to his players, Sean Payton compared the NFL’s gambling rules to its gun rules.
When trying to better explain gambling rules to his players, Sean Payton compared the NFL’s gambling rules to its gun rules. (AP/David Zalubowski)

Payton said he essentially tore up material the NFL sent him about its gambling policy earlier this spring, as it was “awful.” He worked with his front office to come up with a streamlined version for the Broncos that he says they can understand.

Payton delivered a very clear message to his locker room about the league’s gambling policy in order to try and clear it up, which led to him making a striking comparison to another NFL policy.

“You can’t bet on NFL football, ever, ever, ever,” he said, via USA Today. “I don’t give a [expletive] what it is.

“The other thing is, it’s the same as the gun policy. You can’t bet on nothing if you’re at your facility, your hotel, your airplane. So, wherever you can’t carry a gun, you can’t place a bet … You can’t bring a gun to the parking lot … the team hotel … to training camp … to the stadium.”

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