New England Patriots Star Decries NFL Gambling Policy

The NFL has gone to great lengths of late to curb emerging gambling habits among its players, and at least one player is willing to speak his mind about it. New England Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones took to Twitter to complain about the NFL's broad, sweeping ban on betting by players. 

The NFL has handed down multiple high-profile suspensions over gambling recently, including multiple Indianapolis Colts players earlier this week and Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley before the 2022 season.

The rash of suspensions follows a massive shift in the league's relationship with sports gambling. After decades of a hard and steadfast zero-tolerance policy, the NFL has rapidly embraced and adopted sponsorships from sportsbooks and online betting companies like DraftKings, Fanduel, FoxBet, and BetMGM.

Those warm, extremely profitable relationships are likely a huge reason why NFL players perceive a normalizing of sports gambling after decades of it being treated as a cardinal sin. Every day, players are inundated with constant promotion and advertising about giddy thrills and easy money. Placing a bet is more convenient (and seemingly innocuous) than ever, but as Jones says, "rules are rules."

Sports rightly live in terror of potential game-fixing, and any possibility of it should be punished severely. But as the culture around gambling evolves in North America and inches more and more mainstream, it's possible there's room for nuance when it comes to NFL players. It's naked hypocrisy for the NFL to sell gambling to the masses and crucify players for engaging in it. Maybe it's time the league finally drew a distinction between sabotaging games and players betting on their own excellence or situations they have no control over.

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