Two days ago, on July 25, it was reported that Eyioma Uwazurike, Denver Broncos linebacker, had been banned for an unspecified time period for breaching the NFL’s wagering policy while wagering on NFL games during last season. However, Sean Payton, football coach of the Denver Broncos claims that ” the blame doesn’t stop with the rash of players banned in recent weeks for violating the NFL’s gambling policy.”
Minimum suspension of one year:
The NFL league reported Monday that “Uwazurike received his minimum one-year ban for wagering on NFL games last season.” Furthermore, he will have the opportunity to petition to return to his previous position as early as July 24, 2024. In that regard, a statement issued by the league said: “The NFL confirmed today that Eyioma Uwazurike of the Denver Broncos has been suspended indefinitely for betting on NFL games in the 2022 season. Uwazurike will be eligible to petition for reinstatement no earlier than July 24, 2024.”
Relatedly, in an interview with USA Today Sports as the Broncos’ veterans arrived at training camp, Payton said: “When you have a bunch of players getting D’s, you have to start looking at the message. And we’ve had a lot of D’s in our league this year with this policy.” Additionally, when asked to comment on the fact that Uwazurike is the 10th NFL player banned because of gambling, joining Jameson Williams (six games), Isaiah Rodgers Sr., Shaka Toney, Demetrius Taylor, CJ Moore, Nicholas Petit-Frere (six games), Stanley Berryhill, Quintez Cephus and Rashod Berry, since April, he said: “Shame on us. And we’re going to send them home for a year, where they can’t be around. The idea that you just go away, shame on us.”
As the 25-year-old Uwazurike was chosen by the Broncos during the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, his team also unveiled the statement: “We were informed by the NFL that Eyioma Uwazurike has been suspended by the league indefinitely for violating its gambling policy. Our organization fully cooperated with this investigation and takes matters pertaining to the integrity of the game very seriously.”
Being a rookie, he made 17 tackles.
The league insists on compliance with the gambling policy:
A little over a month ago, on June 14, the NFL tried to rise consciousness among staff and players about its gambling policy while making necessary updates to it. Additionally, it also held in-person sessions at team spaces. During one of its presentations, the league highlighted its two main rules and that they must be respected:
- don’t wager on the NFL;
- don’t lay a bet on work, involving from your phone.
However, Payton disagrees with the way the league has attempted to explain the policy to players and teams. Additionally, he was a loud critic for a long time before one of his players was banned. In that regard, he said: “I essentially tore up material about the policy that the league sent to the team during the spring, deeming it as too convoluted. It was awful. I have instructed Mark Thewes, the team’s vice president of football operations and compliance, to provide a streamlined version of the policy that he presented to the players and the team’s staff.”
He added: “If you’re a teacher and half your class gets a D, you better look at yourself. It’s not the policy, but it’s the implementation, the understanding, and the educating of the policy. I presented a week and a half ago, and now someone officially will present [it]. Hopefully it won’t be from that eight-page handout we received because that was more confusing after I read it than it was before I looked at it. I think we’re all on the same page.”
The League under inspection:
The league continues to face an increased level of inspection due to the recent surge in NFL wagering bans, which began last season. That’s really bad for it because since it’s partnered with few sportsbooks, its honesty can’t be questioned. In this regard, Matt Hold, founder and CEO of US Integrity, said: “Hopefully next summer we’ll see a lot less, because what’s happening this year should be a really good deterrent to athletes. It’s like, ‘Hey, don’t log in at practice, man. Stay off the betting apps during practice.’”