NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott isn’t exactly jumping for joy about the Oakland Raiders moving to Las Vegas. In fact, the former Raiders and San Francisco 49ers star is “nervous” about the impending move, which was nearly unanimously voted in favor of occurring this past spring.
So, why is Lott nervous?
“What I’m nervous about is I just don’t want our game to get tarnished,” Lott told Zig Fracassi and Adam Caplan on SiriusXM’s NFL Rewind. “And what I mean by that is that there are characteristics that allowed all of us to want to play this game at the highest level. And I remember, when I first came in the league, there were certain things that you could not do, and that was you could not have any gaming activities.”
Lott wonders if players might end up doing something they’re not supposed to do by gambling on their own sport.
“Being so close to it, knowing that there are professionals that are in that community, it’s going to be very challenging. People say, ‘Ah, Ronnie, that’s all [places].’ But this isn’t Vegas. They gamble all over the world, that’s right, but there’s professional people that do this for a living every day.”
It’s a valid concern. And it’s hardly the only big challenge the NFL faces regarding gaming activities. NFL referees aren’t technically even allowed in Vegas during NFL season, as the rules are currently written.
All that said, the NFL is actually moving towards gambling, rather than running away from it (more on that here). Furthermore, we have to note that Lott was part of a group of investors that was trying to keep the Raiders in Oakland.
This move by the Raiders to Vegas will no doubt provide plenty of challenges for the team and the league to overcome. It’s going to be fascinating to see how it all unfolds.