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NFL suspends player for betting on league games

Josh Shaw #30, while playing for the Kansas City Chiefs, tries to tackle Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots in October 2018 (Credit: Getty Images)

The National Football League has suspended Arizona Cardinals cornerback Josh Shaw through at least the 2020 season for betting on league games on multiple occasions this season.

It is not clear how often Shaw bet on games, how much he gambled, whether he bet on any Cardinals games, or whether his bets were legal or not. But league rules prohibit players from betting on NFL games in any way.

“A league investigation uncovered no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way,” an NFL statement said. “Nor was there evidence suggesting any awareness by teammates, coaches or other players of his betting activity.”

Shaw, who was on the injured reserve list before his suspension, cannot apply for reinstatement until after February 15, 2021. The last NFL player to be suspended for gambling was Baltimore Ravens rookie quarterback Jon Stark in 1996.

According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport: “Shaw went to a Vegas casino this fall with buddies from [high school]. He’s on [the injured reserve list] & hasn’t been around the team since preseason. Shaw placed sports bets for the 1st time based on misinterpreted understanding of the Supreme Court ruling.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement: “The continued success of the NFL depends directly on each of us doing everything necessary to safeguard the integrity of the game and the reputations of all who participate in the league. At the core of this responsibility is the longstanding principle that betting on NFL games, or on any element of a game, puts at risk the integrity of the game, damages public confidence in the NFL and is forbidden under all circumstances. If you work in the NFL in any capacity, you may not bet on NFL football.”

According to ESPN, following Shaw’s suspension the NFL sent a memo to all teams reminding them that any employee found gambling on American football would have their contracts terminated.

Shaw’s gambling suspension comes as the NFL has begun to embrace the new legalized sports betting landscape in the United States. In January, the NFL announced that Caesars Entertainment would be its inaugural Official Casino Partner. In September, the NFL signed Tabcorp as its first Official Wagering Partner in Australia. Last month, meanwhile, the NFL named DraftKings as the league’s first official daily fantasy partner.

The NFL, though, remains the only major North American sports league not to have a fully-fledged sports betting partner.