Today's Headlines - Realty Times
Posted On Friday, 25 March 2022 19:28 Written by

“Protecting the integrity of the game” has been one of the stalwarts of the National Football League. I’m sure it is the same in every pro sport as well as college and scholastic games. Every fan wants to see an honest game. Even games in your living room need to be played with integrity. If the opponent is cheating, it makes it not a game but an unfair contest.

During my 31 years as a referee in the NFL, I was overly cautious to avoid conversations with strangers who wanted to ask me about a certain player or a player injury in order for them to have an advantage if they were betting on games. The officials on the NFL field today need to be just as cautious. I am proud to say that in my 62-year association (I started in 1960) with the NFL, there has never — I mean never — been an on-field NFL official accused of bribery or supplying inside information to gamblers.

I am sure the NBA, NHL, and MLB have the same creed of “protecting the integrity” of their sports. Yet less than two decades ago the NBA fired a 13-year veteran referee, Tim Donaghy, who was found guilty of not only betting on his own games but also found guilty of providing inside information to gamblers. Donaghy refereed 13 seasons in the NBA. Evidence proved that he was the rogue culprit.

The concern here is that gambling is addictive and while it has become legal in many states, it has caused many to be guilty of death and loss of liberty. Yet the NFL and other professional sports have partnered with several online betting sites such as DraftKings, FanDuel, and the Fox Bet app and it continues to grow — now in 21 states. Even the dynamic, retired quarterback duo of the Manning brothers (Peyton and Eli) has partnered with Caesars Sportsbook to encourage fans to bet on games. And you don’t have to leave home to place your bets! Yes, our internet advancement had made all that possible.

It was sure different in my NFL time when game officials were denied visiting Las Vegas during the football season in fear that gamblers would contact them. Now not only are officials in Vegas to work games in Allegiant Stadium but there are also hockey officials there to work Golden Knights games. Progress may lead to trouble. Stay tuned.

Will you log in your concerns (if any) about the relationship between gambling sites and sports leagues?

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