Sean Payton calls out NFL gambling policies as betting bans continue

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Denver Broncos’ coach Sean Payton has expressed his anger and confusion at some of the NFL gambling policies and punishments for those players who are caught breaching the rules. 

Speaking with USA Today, Payton outlined the “shame” that the league and its stakeholders should feel when condemning players to isolation when they have been caught betting on football, rather than offering support. 

Reflecting that more than 10 players have recently been banned for betting-related offenses, Payton told USA Today: “Shame on us. And we’re going to send them home for a year, where they can’t be around. The idea that you just go away, shame on us.”

The comments came after the Broncos’ defensive end Eyioma Uwazurike was suspended “indefinitely” after the league discovered he wagered on NFL games.

Uwazurike is the 11th player of the post-PASPA era to violate the league’s betting policy. He is also the eighth to be suspended for allegedly betting on league games.

Earlier this year, five Detroit Lions and a further four players were reprimanded for betting on NFL games, causing increasing concerns over the integrity of the league. 

Payton described how difficult it is to hammer home to players the importance of not betting on football, despite the significant bans. 

“You can’t bet on NFL football, ever, ever, ever,” he said. “I don’t give a (expletive) what it is. The other thing is, it’s the same as the gun policy. You can’t bet on nothing if you’re at your facility, your hotel, your airplane. So, wherever you can’t carry a gun, you can’t place a bet.”

Some of the NFL rules on gambling are less clear than others, for example, players can bet on other sports, including college football, but are prohibited from doing so when on team grounds, such as training centers, parking lots and stadia. 

Earlier this summer, Payton stated: “We got a packet from the league. “Obviously, when policies change, it’s our job to educate [the players]. [Vice president of football operations and compliance] Mark Thewes was awesome. We’re professional teachers. The packet we received, we looked at, studied [it] closely and then we presented it in our own PowerPoint. I probably had 20 minutes on it to really make sure everyone has it.”