Clipboard Items Today

Today will be a randomized trip through some of the items I have on my clipboard for “future use” in these rants.  If you think you have discovered a thread that goes through them, you may be certain that your discovery is not something I had in mind while assembling this.

The NFL continues to investigate instances where players or coaches or team officials have wagered improperly.  Lions’ WR, Jameson Williams, received a 6-game suspension for gambling activities and he has said that he had not been aware of the full extent of the NFL prohibitions there.  Last year, Calvin Ridley was suspended for the season for betting on his own team to win even though he was on injured reserve and could not possibly play in the game or affect its outcome.  So, what are the rules in effect here?

The prohibitions about gambling are codified in the CBA between the NFL and the NFLPA.  Here is a summary:

  • Football betting:  No way and no how.  Betting is prohibited on games, practices, the Draft, the Combine, futures, or props.  If the sport is football, forget about betting on it.
  • Other sports:  NFL personnel other than players are also forbidden to bet or facilitate betting on any other professional, college, international or amateur sport, tournament, or event.

Gambling at legal casinos involving table games seem to be OK for NFL players and wagers on horse or dog races create a grey area in that they are “professional” events but are not enumerated anywhere by the NFL mavens.  I think the rules are overly restrictive; I doubt that a revelation of a team scout betting on who will win The Masters is a threat to the integrity of NFL games; but those are the rules.  Even though I think they are overly restrictive, they are also very clear and anyone – – players or anyone else – – who risks all or part of their career by making sports wagers can only claim “misunderstanding” if simultaneously they admit abject stupidity.

A report yesterday said that a player for the Colts is under investigation for placing “hundreds of bets” from within the Colts’ facilities and that those wagers took place in 2022 and 2023.  Please note that these alleged activities came after the announcement of Calvin Ridley’s suspension meaning the accused player still “did not understand” the rules after that demonstration of the rules.  Time to cue in Bugs Bunny:

  • What a maroon!

Next up is an update on the sale of the Washington Commanders.  There are continuing reports that the Finance Committee has “problems” with the structure of Josh Harris’ bid to buy the team.  At some point, someone needs to whisper in the ear of those august members of the Committee that they need to tread a bit more lightly here because:

  • If they turn down the deal, they are stuck with Danny Boy and the public stench that he bears as one of their colleagues.
  • If they piss of Harris and his colleagues sufficiently, they may pull their bid off the table.  That attaches Danny Boy to the league to plus it could open the league up to litigation by Danny Boy should he be unable to find another buyer willing to pay $6.1B for his team.

Getting rid of Danny Boy has to be a plus for the other 31 owners and putting someone else in charge of the Commanders would make the league appear to be run by adults.  Two years ago, when the team chose to “rebrand itself” and went through a period calling themselves the Washington Football Team, they went about selecting a more permanent name.  After two years of thinking and investigating and strategizing, they came up with the Washington Commanders – – and then learned that the Patent and Trademark Office would not give the team a trademark for the name.  That boneheadedness does not dip into the pockets of the other 31 owners whose team names and logos are indeed trademarked, but it puts one more “dumbass chip” on the scales for one of the league franchises.

  • Memo to the NFL Finance Committee:  Get this deal done.  Now.

Along those lines, let me also opine that even if the Commanders are sold and the deal were to close this evening, there is a potential for Danny Boy to continue to intersect with the NFL down the road.  Jon Gruden has a lawsuit pending against the league; the NFL has tried to get the suit dismissed and – -failing that – – to force it into arbitration where the proceedings are not made public.  To date, the NFL has not been successful in those motions.  Critical to that suit are some 600,000 emails many of which were between Gruden and the former Skins’ team president, Bruce Allen.  Some of those emails were leaked and Gruden alleges that was the basis for his losing his job.

My point is not to try this case here.  My point is that if this becomes a public trial, those emails could easily become part of the public record.  The obvious question that would have to be answered is how did those emails leak; and since most of the leaked ones involved the time when Allen and Danny Boy were running the Skins, that could easily drag Danny Boy back into the same orbit as the NFL.  Oh joy!

Complicating that matter even further is that Bruce Allen and Danny Boy are no longer “besties”.  Allen filed an arbitration claim against Danny Boy and some accommodation was reached in the process even though the two sides do not agree on how that accommodation came to be.  The Gruden lawsuit will not “bring down” the NFL by any stretch of the imagination, but it has the potential to be a thorn in the foot and a huge source of embarrassment.

Finally, much of today has dealt with the foibles of very rich people so let me close with this observation about rich people by George Bernard Shaw:

“What is the matter with the poor is poverty; what is the matter with the rich is uselessness.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………