Denver Broncos’ defensive end Eyioma Uwazurike was suspended earlier this week for betting on NFL games. Uwazurike is the latest in a string of high profile cases of NFL players who simply do not understand how seriously the league takes its gambling policies since the onset of regulated sports betting.
Uwazurike was found by the league to have wagered on an undisclosed number of NFL games during the 2022. The fourth round draft pick, who has only played one season in the league, caught an indefinite suspension for his actions, though he can apply for reinstatement next summer.
While it’s easy to sympathize with a 25-year-old rookie player who clearly didn’t understand the seriousness of his actions, the NFL has been very clear with players about its gambling policies. Players are strictly prohibited from betting on NFL games and from placing bets of any kind from NFL facilities, including hotels during road games. The policy is intentionally strict and prohibits players from even playing fantasy football.
In an interview with ESPN, Denver Broncos Head Coach Sean Payton explained the lengths the NFL takes to inform players about the importance of following gambling policies saying, “We got a packet from the league,” he said at the time. “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.”
Despite the NFL’s best efforts, Uwazurike is the tenth player to be suspended for gambling violations this year, so far.