More than 30 former and current players are being investigated by the NFL—aka No Fun League—for reportedly participating in an arm wrestling contest in Las Vegas.
Steelers linebacker James Harrison and retired Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch were two players involved at the “Pro Football Arm Wrestling Championship” at the MGM Grand casino last April 5-9, USA Today reported.
The inaugural event, featuring heavyweight and light heavyweight crowns, is a made-for-TV deal that is set to air on CBS in May, with Harrison and Lynch serving as co-hosts. A portion of the prize purses will be donated to charities of the player’s choice, according to the event’s website.
What happens in Vegas… NFL will find out
The competition captures the macho spirit of football, but the arm wrestlers could be in hot water from Roger Goodell and company. According to reports, not one of the players have sought an approval from the NFL before participating in the event.
Brian McCarthy, spokesman for the league, told ESPN that they have just became aware of the event and will be investigating it.
In a separate interview with USA Today, NFL VP for communications Joe Lockhart said: “Had we been asked in advance if this was acceptable, we would have indicated that it was in direct violation of the gambling policy. No one sought pre-approval.”
The league’s gambling policy bans players from appearing at casinos as part of promotional events, and NFL honchos said the players who participated in the event may be subjected to disciplinary actions and face fines.
Aside from Harrison and Lynch, Miami Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills, San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman and Oakland Raiders punter Marquette King also participated in the contest, according to reports.
Nevada bookies to offer betting on NFL draft
The arm wrestling competition is the latest event to test the league’s oft-stated mantra that its games’ integrity would suffer irreparable damage from legal wagering, which has been in the spotlight after the NFL owners’ recent approval of the Oakland Raiders relocating to Las Vegas.
The league’s next test? The Nevada sportsbooks that are given the greenlight to offer propositions on the NFL draft for the first time.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Nevada Gaming Control Board has already signed off on a request to offer betting on the NFL draft, which will be held on April 27-29 in Philadelphia. Sportsbooks are now able to offer at least 17 propositions—as mandated by the Nevada Gaming Control—until the close of business on April 26. Any props that deviate from the examples given by the board will need further approval.