Suspension of Cardinals DB Josh Shaw Prompts a Bigger Discussion


The NFL suspension of Arizona Cardinals defensive back Josh Shaw prompts a really big discussion because sports gambling is mainstream now! Talk of spreads, money lines, over-unders, bad beats, and more is ubiquitous. If you want free expert NFL picks for each and every Sunday, you can place a bet legally now in 13 states. 42 of the 50 United States either have legal sports betting, or are currently in the process of working towards it.

Ever since May 14, 2018, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a law that had rendered sports wagering unconstitutional, it’s been a brave new world. 

The landmark SCOTUS ruling did two things. First it opened up a world of opportunity as it enabled each individual state to decide the legality of sports wagering for itself.

Second, it removed the stigma of sports gambling as a “vice” industry. So the National Football League must proceed with caution in how it handles the case of Josh Shaw.

It’s a bit reminiscent of the case of Art Schliester, who in 1981 became the first NFL player suspended for gambling in over 20 years. About a month ago, Shaw placed a four figure wager on a three-team parlay in NFL Week 10. He placed the bet, under his own name, and listing his occupation as NFL player, at a Las Vegas sports book. On one of the legs of his parlays, he bet in favor of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and against his own team.

However, the Buccaneers failed to cover the spread and Shaw lost the bet. His action was flagged by the casino, the Nevada regulatory authorities and made its way to the NFL league office. Shaw, who has been out on injured reserve since August and has not played a down this season, was suspended on November 29.

He is appealing the ruling, as he should because this case has a chance to set precedent about work/life balance and what players can and can’t do with their personal lives.

While Shaw’s teammates and coaches were reportedly unaware of his legal, but definitely questionable activities, it appears that he did not bet with any kind of inside information. Also, and most importantly, there doesn’t seem to be any indication of any type of game fixing or point shaving going on here. With parlays, it’s impossible because you would have to somehow manipulate three different results at the same time.

This is certainly no Black Sox Scandal, an event which turned 100 just a month ago, when the Chicago White Sox conspired to throw the 1919 World Series and gift it to the Cincinnati Reds. The eight players involved were banned from baseball for life, a Draconian measure that Josh Shaw is no doubt aware of.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC and Chicago on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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