NFL finalizing discipline for players linked to gambling violations
Published 11:45 pm Wednesday, June 28, 2023
The Associated Press
The NFL is finalizing disciplinary action against more players for gambling violations, including Indianapolis Colts defensive back Isaiah Rodgers Sr., two people familiar with the plans told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because an official announcement won’t be made until later this week.
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A year-long suspension would be consistent with other punishments handed down for similar violations.
A spokesman for the Colts declined comment. Rodgers’ agent didn’t respond to a message seeking comment Wednesday.
The first indication Rodgers was involved came when a website that covers sports wagering, sportshandle.com, reported in early June that an unidentified Colts player had been involved with “pervasive” betting. The report said the player placed ”hundreds” of bets, some on the Colts.
“Addressing the current reports, I want to take full responsibility for my actions,” he wrote. “I know I have made mistakes and I am willing to do whatever it takes to repair the situation. The last thing I ever wanted to do was to be a distraction to the Colts organization, my coaches and my teammates. I’ve let people down that I care about.
“I made an error in judgment and I am going to work hard to make sure that those mistakes are rectified through this process. It’s an honor to play in the NFL and I have never taken that lightly. I am very sorry for all of this.”
But Rodgers isn’t the only player being punished for violating the league’s gambling policy, which bars players, coaches, league and team officials from betting on NFL games, placing bets at team facilities or team hotels or having someone else place a bet for them, among other restrictions.
The other players have not yet been identified.
With many states legalizing sports books specifically and gambling in general, leagues such as the NFL must increasingly contend with gambling infractions.
In April, the NFL suspended five players, four of them with the Detroit Lions, for gambling infractions. The Lions released three players — receivers Quintez Cephus and Stanley Berryhill and safety C.J. Moore. Cephus and Moore were suspended indefinitely for betting on NFL games while Berryhill and receiver Jameson Williams each drew six-game suspensions for betting on non-NFL games.
Williams, the No. 12 overall pick in the 2022 draft, remains on Detroit’s roster.
Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney also received an indefinite suspension in April for betting on NFL games, and in 2022 the NFL gave then-Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley a season-long suspension for betting. He was reinstated in March and now plays for Jacksonville.
Losing Rodgers would be a big blow to a Colts secondary already under reconstruction. He was projected to be a starter this season, his fourth in the NFL, and the former UMass star was expected to add a veteran voice in a young position room.
Indy lost veteran safety Rodney McLeod in free agency, traded cornerback Stephon Gilmore to Dallas and moved Julian Blackmon from free safety to strong safety this offseason. The Colts also took four defensive backs in the draft. Fifth-round pick Daniel Scott, a safety, will miss the entire season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament this month in practice.
But Rodgers still has the support of his friends and teammates.
“I have just given him words of encouragement,” starting cornerback Kenny Moore II said. “I mean it’s the same thing you would tell a brother who was going through something — you would give him a hand, you would tell him you’ll be there for him, so stay strong. You would do all you can to make sure he perseveres.”