Even though the NFL will be headed to Las Vegas soon, after the owners approved the Raiders to relocate there, Roger Goodell would still like to maintain the league’s strict stance on gambling. With that includes the NFL’s rules against participating in events that occur in casinos.
Such was the case this weekend with the ‘Pro Football Arm Wrestling Championship’ which was held at the MGM Grand Casino this past weekend.
Among the over 30 NFL participants were Raiders punter Marquette King and defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. The winner receives $100K, half of which goes to a charity of their choice in their name through the Give Back Foundation.
Also of note as part of the event was Marshawn Lynch, who, along with James Harrison, was a coach. Lynch recently met with the Raiders to discuss his plans to come out of retirement to play in Oakland.
King, Edwards, along with the rest of the NFL players involved, and perhaps even Lynch (should he come out of retirement) could face punishment from the NFL for their involvement in the event. Most likely in the form of a fine.
“Had we been asked in advance if this was acceptable, we would have indicated that it was in direct violation of the gambling policy,” Joe Lockhart, the NFL’s executive vice president for communications and public affairs, told USA Today. “No one sought pre-approval.”
California-based company, Encinal Entertainment put on the show. CEO Alan Brickman disputes the NFL’s claim that NFL approval was not sought.
He told USA TODAY Sports that, beginning in January, he engaged with two different departments within the league and tried to strike a deal to include the NFL as a partner with the event.
Obviously, the NFL didn’t sign up. Yet Brickman maintains that during communication with the league, guidelines were suggested that included showing no images during the broadcast of any gambling-related activities or any alcohol. He said the power was turned off on gambling machines in the vicinity of the events being taped.
With the NFL jumping at the chance to claim nearly a billion dollars in free money from Nevada and Las Vegas, they were able to overlook potential problems like this. Which in turn should understandably make it a bit difficult for players to know where the line is with regard to the soon-to-be NFL city/gambling capital of the world.
Update: Also part of the event was Raiders running back Jalen Richard.