When Arizona Cardinals cornerback Josh Shaw was suspended by the NFL for gambling on games, it wasn’t a terrible shock. After all, legalized sports betting is available in more than a few states, and it seems like it was only a matter of time before something like this happened.
Nonetheless, Shaw has been suspended indefinitely by the NFL until at least the end of the 2020 season. However, there are some things that all professional athletes can learn from this to avoid the same penalty and embarrassment that Shaw did.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport has been the point man on relaying this story to the public. He first reported that Shaw was on injured reserve but placed the bets in Las Vegas while out with some old friends from high school – one of them being on the Cardinals. Apparently, Shaw was unaware of the ruling and even used his NFL player’s card when placing the bet.
According to ESPN’s David Purdum, the bet was placed at Caesars. Additionally, it was an employee of Caesars that alerted both the NFL and Nevada Gaming Control board of the incident.
Once the league found out about the wrongdoing, Shaw was notified by NFL officials and ended up flying to New York for further discussions. All indications are that he has been compliant and continues to cooperate with the league in its investigation.
The NFL commented on the findings of this story:
“A league investigation uncovered no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way. Nor was there evidence suggesting any awareness by teammates, coaches or other players of his betting activity.”
More Needs To Be Done
While it is welcome news that no games were affected by Shaw’s actions, the NFL certainly needs to take more extreme measures with its players. Whether Shaw was lying or not, the NFL was well aware that he bet on multiple games during this season – this was not his first rodeo.
Needless to say, everyone involved with professional sports needs to be on high alert – the players, teams, sportsbooks, and especially gaming commissions.
The NFL does have a firm no-gambling stance among its players, coaches, and all team employees.
“Gambling, particularly betting on NFL games or other sports, presents risks to the integrity of our competition and team cohesion, and can undermine the confidence and trust of our fans and colleagues in America’s greatest game. We therefore owe it to our fans and everyone associated with the league to take all appropriate steps to safeguard our game against possible threats from illegal gambling as well as gambling in a legal, regulated context.”
For Shaw to say that he didn’t know he was doing anything wrong is just completely unacceptable. However, he was on injured reserve and hadn’t been near the team since August. In this instance, was he using his own knowledge of football to gain a financial edge? Isn’t that what most analysts and professional gamblers do?
After all, former Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee placed a $100 bet down on a six-team parlay that brought in $5,137. McAfee hasn’t punted in an NFL game since 2016, but it does make you wonder where legislation on the matter could go if current or former players keep living on the edge.