The NFL’s logic is fairly simple — even if it’s incorrect. The NFL doesn’t want players involved with anything that even has a whiff of gambling. After all, if players were involved with gambling it could affect the integrity of the game. Well, the NFLPA has heard the NFL’s concerns and they are having absolutely none of it. The NFLPA rightfully wants to be involved in any situation where gambling and regulations are discussed.
We’ve already gone over this, but we will do it again: the integrity of the game argument is a straw man. Gambling has been going on for years unregulated. It’s easier to fix games or affect the integrity of the game when betting is done in the black market. There aren’t any regulations. There aren’t any controls. Wagering on sports was happening already. It’s been quoted in the billions of dollars.
Not to belabor the point, but no professional athlete is taking a bribe and ruining their career. They make more than any fixer could offer them. It doesn’t make sense. Let’s say it could happen, wouldn’t the players association being involved in making sure that no one fixes a bet make more sense anyway?
Plain and simple, this looks like a money play. The owners want to keep the money. The players deserve a right to fight for what they consider theirs. The NFL wants to sell its intellectual property — mostly data — to books to use as the official results on bets. Owners feel like they own that property, which would mean more money to the league and the billionaires who run it.
The problem arises when it comes to player prop bets. The NFL wants them banned. They don’t feel like it would help the integrity of the game. They are concerned that these types of bets are the easiest to fix. Let’s take an actual logical look at that argument.
First, the NFL already has people gambling on player performance. There’s really no difference betting Adrian Peterson will have 100 yards rushing than picking Adrian Peterson for your daily fantasy matchup — or not picking Peterson because of inside information. Some of these daily fantasy matchups can be in the hundreds of dollars. But, player props can be huge bets bigger than daily fantasy, right? Wrong. Books aren’t stupid. There are limits on player prop bets. People can’t bet $1,000 that the next play will be a pass. They can’t bet $5,000 on Adrian Peterson getting 100 yards. No book would take that risk.
Second, the NFLPA can make the logical argument that players are entitled to more of a cut on specific player props. People aren’t betting on the game. They aren’t betting an over-under or team total. They are betting on a player. That’s ripe for the NFLPA to say that player props should be distributed more to the players than the league. It’s the player involved. It’s not the team. It’s not the league. It’s a bet on one person on the field. The NFLPA could even theoretically launch or invest in a business that is focused on players only.
Third, this needs to be a team effort. This would go along way to show the NFL is operating in good faith especially as the current expiration of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) looms. The NFL has already acted with a heavy hand when it comes to players hosting events at casinos. Yet, NFL teams are moving toward official partnerships with gaming companies — the Cowboys already have an official casino lined up — and it’s the union’s job to make sure that its constituents are getting their cut of the revenue.
There are revenue opportunities for the NFLPA if it focuses on player props. These wagers and fantasy games don’t have to include the league. Fans can bet on whether Alvin Kamara or Saquon Barkley will have more rushing yards in a certain week. They can bet on Patrick Mahomes touchdown passes in a game. They can bet on specific players. That’s where the NFLPA can make the argument that the players deserve more. The NFL wants these bets to be illegal. It’s like they see the future battle over who gets that revenue and they want to squash it before it becomes an issue with the new CBA. It’s smart for the NFLPA and its leadership to demand a seat at the table.
Source: Touch Down Wire – Usa Today