The NFL announced that a member of the Arizona Cardinals was suspended through the 2020 season after betting on league games “on multiple occasions this season.”
While offering few details, the NFL said no game was compromised because of wagering by defensive back Josh Shaw. Shaw is currently on the Cardinals’ injured reserve. League rules prohibit players from betting on NFL games in any way.
The statement from the NFL said that the league “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.”
Here is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on the suspension:
“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.”
Shaw has played for Cincinnati, Kansas City and Tampa Bay in his pro career. He has not played a game for Arizona while on injured reserve, where he was placed in August.
The status of US sports betting
US sports betting has become more widely legal in the past year and a half in the wake of a Supreme Court decision striking down a federal ban. Wagering now takes place in more than a dozen states and will be legal in more in the coming year as more laws take effect.
Before and after legalization, however, betting at offshore sportsbooks operating illegally in the US has been widespread, as well.
It’s the first instance of a player being suspended for betting on games since the Supreme Court decision in any of the major US pro leagues.
So, where did Shaw bet on games?
This is perhaps the most interesting facet of the story.
The Cardinals are in Arizona, which does not have any form of legal sports betting. Shaw, who attended the University of Southern California, is from California. That state also has no legal wagering, although there have been efforts recently to look at the issue.
Las Vegas is obviously not far from either state, and betting has been legal there for decades. The Raiders will start play there next season.
Here is the explanation reported by NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport:
On the Josh Shaw suspension, via sources close to him: Shaw went to a Vegas casino this fall with buddies from HS. He’s on IR & 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
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 29, 2019