Today’s Ethics News For The Nation’s Most Unethical Sports League, Part I

It’s Super Bowl month, and I will periodically be reminding readers of just how unethical it is to support the National Football League, which allows criminals to play, enables racial division while doing nothing substantive to address its own “diversity and inclusion” problems, is a Black Lives Matter propaganda distributor, and most of all, knowingly places the brains and health of its players at risk, confident that the price of paying periodic multi-millions to settle serial class actions will be pocket-change compared to the profit the NFL makes sending its employees into premature dementia. This is one of the major ethics corrupters in American culture.

This post and the next focus on some notable developments. First up, the NFL’s newfound acceptance of gambling.

I have frequently knocked the Times’ ultra-woke sports columnist Kurt Streeter, who only uses sports as a platform for his social justice hobby-horses. Thus I owe him some kudos for his latest column, which reminds us about how the NFL is now enabling gambling addiction…

When I reached out last week to nearly a dozen people as old as 82 and as young as 17 in recovery for sports gambling addiction, I heard horror stories. They told me about shattered families, lost jobs and foreclosed homes. They spoke of arrests, convictions, jail time and suicide. I heard how dangerous this time of the year is: the end of the college football season, the N.F.L. playoffs, all the money that can be won on the Super Bowl, or, more likely, lost….

Sports betting advertisements now bolster the bottom line for holders of broadcast rights, with their commercials popping up during game stoppages and branded drops read on air by analysts who gush about parlays and point spreads as part of the game action.

Casino ads can be spotted in all corners of the biggest stadiums. You can place bets on games inside stadiums in Arizona and several other states, and some venues have even sold their naming rights to betting operations…

In 1976, Pete Rozelle, the N.F.L.’s commissioner, said this: “Legalized gambling on sporting events are destructive to the sports themselves and in the long run injurious to the public.”

In 2012, the current N.F.L. commissioner, Roger Goodell, said this: “It’s a very strongly held view in the N.F.L. — it has been for decades — that the threat that gambling could occur in the N.F.L. or fixing of games or that any outcome could be influenced by the outside could be very damaging to the N.F.L. and very difficult to ever recover from.”

In 2015, he was still singing that tune: “We oppose gambling. I don’t anticipate us changing that going forward.”


Think about it. After years of consumer lawsuits and investigations that showed the tobacco industry was doing all it could to get people hooked on a deadly product, the Food and Drug Administration severely limited cigarette advertising: The last Marlboro Man commercial aired in 1999. You cannot buy a pack of cigarettes without being confronted by a label warning that smoking can lead to cancer, lung disease, diabetes or other terrible diseases.

But if you tune in during Super Bowl week, be ready to ingest an unrelenting stream of carnival barker ads. They will gush over how you can wager during the game on everything from the coin toss to who will be the first receiver to catch a pass. They will hype the fun of parlay bets and so-called risk-free bets, which are not risk free at all.

There’s a cost. It can devastate.

Not that the NFL gives a damn.


5 thoughts on “Today’s Ethics News For The Nation’s Most Unethical Sports League, Part I

  1. Legalized, advertised, hyped, promoted, joint-ventured, cell phone gambling is absolutely mind boggling. I think the primary target demographic is the 20- to 45-year-old guys demographic (which I refer to as the beer drinking demographic). Previously, they had to go to Vegas to sports bet. I practiced law with a guy who’d fly from Phoenix to Vegas after work, place all his sports bets, mostly college basketball, then fly back in time to go to bed. Now, guys don’t have to go to Vegas or use a local bookie, they can just … PLACE BETS ON THEIR PHONES??? With no more effort than ordering a pizza?

    And of course, the raunchiest NFL franchise is now located in, you guessed it, Las Vegas, Nevada. Brilliant.

    I think the enabling statutory regime in Arizona requires the Diamondbacks, Suns and Cardinals to joint venture with mob run gambling operators who’ve been fleecing the local Indian tribes and run betting parlors AT THEIR STADIUMS! It’s just mind-bogglingly nuts. But hey, the vig and the bettors’ winnings are taxable by the State of Arizona! No problem! And anyway, why shouldn’t sports leagues that provide the entertainment that generates the action participate in the gambling handle? It’s only fair, right?

  2. I will admit it, I like checking the odds. The NFL does it best. They give you a point spread and an over-under. Basically, that gives you the prediction of the game.

    Right now, for the Super Bowl, between Los Angeles and Cincinnati, they have LA winning by 4.5 points, with an over under of 48.5 points. Basically, they are predicting a Rams victory with a score of 26.5 (26 or 27) to 22. That’s a very specific prediction. Don’t get me started on Madden NFL

    The NBA is similar. Yesterday, the Timberwolves were favored by 1.5 point with an Over-Under of 228.5; they won 130-115, cover the spread and the Over.

    By contrast, in the Minnesota Wild game tonight, I would have to bet 160 dollars to win 100 (so they are moderately favored) with an Over-Under of 6, which is kind of typical. Of the 5 NHL games tonight, the Over-Under is between 5 and 6 goals. I don’t know what they are saying the game will be like. 4-2 Wild?

    Baseball sucks as bad as hockey in this regard. In fact, baseball might be worse. I don’t recall baseball giving an Over-Under.

    Mind you, I don’t bet on this stuff. I just like the mathematics, especially when it is right, but ESPECIALLY when it is wrong. Then, there is March Madness. 64 teams (or 68) ranked and set up against each other. You almost know that one of the Number 2 seeds will lose in the First Round, but you never know which one. Until recently, you knew the #1 would win the first round, because they never lost–until they did. To pick every game correctly would take a lot of analysis, insight, and yes, luck. But, am I going to fill, out 1 (or five) brackets? No, like I said, it takes analysis, insight, and luck. I don’t think I have enough of any of the three to spend the time (the fourth thing) to bet money (the fifth thing) on it..

    But, it certainly is fascinating from a mathematical perspective.

    What is frightening, though, is the pervasiveness of it all. At first, it was just the commercials for betting. Now that it is sanctioned by the NFL, they have “partnered” with four sportsbook operators. Since that happened, it seems like the coverage of the sport has changed. It used to be that the sportscasters would simply cover the game. Then, Fantasy Football became more prominent and sportscasters would even cover those sorts of stats. Now, I hear radio commentators talking about bets they would make on games, or specific prop-bets they would make about the performance of specific players. I would say that the change in coverage has been creepy, except that it is perfectly explainable now that the NFL has essentially teamed up with Vegas.

    It’s unseemly, to say the least. And, yes, for those who are inclined to gamble, it makes it all too easy.

    However, if you must place a bet, stick to this: ALWAYS bet the OVER on the National Anthem in the Super Bowl.


  3. How is the government going to regulate gambling like cigarettes or run and anti-gambling campaign? What would that look like?

    “Sports gambling addiction destroys lives, families, and hope. If you or a loved one have a problem, seek help. Also, remember that the Powerball Jackpot is up to $450 million. It’s for the children! Make sure you make reservations this weekend at the Cherokee Casino, with the loosest slots around.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.