Exploring the tenuous line between gambling and integrity in the NFL | Inside Coverage

Yahoo Sports’ Jason Fitz, Jori Epstein and Charles Robinson discuss how gambling is affecting the National Football League and what the tipping point could be in the future. Hear the full conversation on “Inside Coverage” - part of the “Zero Blitz” podcast - and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript


CHARLES ROBINSON: They you keep talking about, integrity of the game, the integrity of the game. I want to know, like, what's the irreparable moment, because now we've had players bet on NFL games, including their own. Now, they did not--

JORI EPSTEIN: But didn't Calvin Ridley bet that his team would win?

CHARLES ROBINSON: So far, we do not know of any players betting against their own interests, either personally or their team. So they're betting on themselves, or they're betting on their teams, right? So, is the breach, the real breach, the irreparable harm to the integrity of the game, that's gonna be when one player bets against himself or against his team, right? That's it. And you never come back from that, right, because, once it happens, a thief doesn't get caught the first time he steals, OK? So, if that happens, that's it, right?

JASON FITZ: I thought it was interesting. I mean, Goodell, at his press conference, was asked specifically if he knew how many employees had been part of a punishment cycle. I believe his answer was, he thought, 25.


JASON FITZ: And I thought that was a pretty staggering number.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Hell, yeah! I was like, damn, that's a lot!

JORI EPSTEIN: Which I will say, I give him credit for answering the question, because I didn't think he would, and shoutout Kalyn Kahler for asking it. What I will say is, the way he answered it, it was unclear to me whether 25 had been terminated, which is the most severe option, or 25 had been disciplined in some way. Maybe some weren't, some terminated.

CHARLES ROBINSON: I get the one-year suspension for players who bet on the game, but they bet for themselves. Like, you know, you're betting for your team to win. I get that there is a different-- That's not good look. You shouldn't be betting on it at all. It's bad. So you get a one-year suspension, right? Like, I get that.

To me, though, I think it should be spoken into existence right now by Roger, if we ever catch you betting on the product and you bet against your team, you're done. You're never walking into-- You're gonna be banned from stadiums. Like, you're never gonna be able to walk into any NFL building. Like, you're done, done, for good. They've never said that. So that's something I would definitely like to have addressed at some point.

JORI EPSTEIN: Yeah, and the last thing I'll say, in fairness to them, is that I imagine an element of why they were asking for questions in advance, even though I disagree with them doing it, is less about, like, the PR and more about the legality, because there are some, like, shaky legal waters with sports gambling, Vegas, et cetera.

JASON FITZ: Yeah, there are shaky legal waters, but that should be very clearly defined by now for the NFL and for Roger.