Monday, June 20, 2011

NFL Investigating Players Casino Investments

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-Digger's Daily-

Investigative journalism often missing from mainstream political news organizations can be found throughout sports. Sports reporters rarely let moments go unnoticed. Case in point, Yahoo!Sports just released a report claiming the NFL is looking into personal investments by players (active and retired) into a failed casino venture.

NFL rules bar employees from involvement with any gaming operation. Several current and former NFL players have invested with Country Crossing casino striking a sensitive nerve for the league which is currently facing plenty of challenges stemming from a labor dispute, HGH testing, player turmoils, and now... gambling.

Yahoo reports:
"Country Crossing and another Alabama casino are at the center of a probe that resulted in nine people going to trial accused of buying and selling votes on pro-gambling legislation, including four former or current state senators."

A few of the bigger names listed as investors include Terell Owens, Santonio Holmes, Gerard Warren, Adalius Thomas, Jevon Kearse, Antonio Griffin as well as boxer Floyd Mayweather. $20 million investment by professional athletes in casino operations is a big red flag. Betting by athletes is the biggest sin in sports. Gambling is often treated harsher than cheating, drugs, guns, booze, steroids etc. Too many potential implications from associating with gamblers presents clear and present dangers to illegitimate activities. It should be noted, no player is accused of betting on or throwing games. However, their involvement is against league rules and subject to disciplinary action ranging from fines to possible suspensions.

Country Crossing owner Ron Gilley and two lobbyists have pleaded guilty to offering millions of dollars in bribes to legislators in attempts to buy votes on pro gambling legislation. Heads will roll.

Strange how Yahoo went national with this story whole no other news organizations have stepped up. USA is in the early throws of political re-election campaigns and nary a word from the likes of The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angles Times, ABC, NBC, CBS & CNN. Curious isn't it?

Sports has a long list of gambling probes. Most famous incidents include 1919 Chicago White Sox throwing the World Series, Pete Rose, CCNY point shaving, NBA Referees, NHL coaches and a slew of others. How this one shakes out is anyone's guess. You can safely bet the accused politicians will stop at nothing to cover up any chatter of bribes.

How does a professional athlete come to think investing in a casino is shrewd when multiple leagues ban such a practice? Lawyers, agents, accountants and all other financial advisers should have alerted players their involvement would become a clear contradiction of league practices.

It will be interesting to see how the NFL Commissioners office handles this investigation and how far they're willing to penalize active players beyond slap on the wrist fines.

To be continued as this story unfolds.....

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