Former quarterback Bernie Kosar gambled and got fired from his job for doing so. What’s up with that? Well, Kosar works for the Cleveland Browns, where he spent his career playing football, and is a regular guest on various programs associated with the team.
With gambling becoming legal in Ohio, Kosar gambled $19,000 on the Pittsburgh Steeler game this weekend. He bet on the Browns to win but that’s not really the cause of his firing. The NFL has strict rules about employees, in any capacity, placing bets.
Should Employees be Allowed to Gamble?
I find the situation quite interesting from a number of perspectives. Let’s dispense with any silliness right away. The league clearly has a vested interest in keeping their employees from gambling on games. This is the case for a number of reasons.
Employees who gamble might have access to inside information and tip other gamblers to a particular way to bet. Employees might well get into gambling debt and become compromised in some way or another.
Any employee gambling gives the appearance of a conflict of interest. Even betting on the team with which the person is associated doesn’t help all that much. Could the person know something about the other team? It’s a tangled web and I completely understand the various sports leagues prohibiting gambling.
I won’t go deeply into problem gambling that is escalating across the country as I spoke about that elsewhere.
Kosar Gambled his Job and Lost
Kosar knew the rules. He stated well-ahead of time he planned to make the wager. It was almost certain the Cleveland Browns had to let him go once he placed the bet. When Kosar claims he is “shocked” by the turn of events, I find that pretty dubious. He knew what he was doing, the consequences for doing so, and chose to do it anyway.
The League is a Hypocrite
Up until now you’d think I my case open and shut. Hardly. Sports leagues don’t have a strong ethical position to enforce this ban. The leagues and individual teams profit enormously from legal gambling. They are sponsored by legal gambling website. Some of the stadiums even have areas in them associated with those websites.
Gambling fuels interest and betting information is available in any number of places associated with the various sports leagues. It’s hard to say how much money the leagues and teams make from gambling but it’s not insubstantial.
Basically, what the NFL is saying to Kosar is they can associate with gamblers all they want but he cannot. Kosar gambled and he’s out. The league takes millions from gambling sites and that’s just fine.
I do recognize that gambling itself and being paid from the profits of those bets are two different things, but the association and hypocrisy is not to my liking.
Kosar’s firing is completely legitimate from the point view of the league and he should not be surprised. Those in power need to take a closer look at their own behavior. Winners here? Not that I see.