The NFL has a confusing relationship with Las Vegas right now. After voting to let the Oakland Raiders relocate to the gambling capital of America, the league is now looking into potential violations of its gambling policy in relationship with a Las Vegas arm wrestling tournament at MGM Grand that a number of current and former players participated in last week.
ESPN’s David Purdum reports “more than 30 current and former players, including Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison and retired running back Marshawn Lynch” were participants in the event, titled “The Pro Football Arm Wrestling Championship.” Additionally, Miami Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Navarro Bowman and Oakland Raiders punter Marquette King were reportedly participants in the big event.
After speaking with NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, ESPN reports players who participated in the event could be found to have violated the league’s gambling policy and could subsequently face fines.
This was echoed in comments made by Joe Lockhart, NFL vice president of communications
“Had we been asked in advance if this was acceptable, we would have indicated that it was in direct violation of the gambling policy,” Lockhart told USA Today Sports. “No one sought pre-approval.”
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports the active players involved will, indeed, face fines.
The current players who participated in the arm wrestling event at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino violated @NFL policy & will be fined, per source
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 10, 2017
Of course, there is more to this story that makes fining these players all that much more ridiculous. A portion of the prize money won by individuals and the teams will be donated to charity, and the event will be broadcast in late May on the CBS Network, per Purdham.