Former World Cup Winner and Three NFL Stars the Latest to Face Betting Breach Charges

Footballer BannedA member of England’s winning squad from the 2017 Under-20 World Cup, plus three stars from the NFL, are the latest sportsmen to face accusations of betting breaches.

Harry Chapman, a three-time promotion winner with the likes of Sheffield United and Blackburn Rovers, has been charged with a historical betting breach dating back to 2017.

Meanwhile, three NFL players – Isaiah Rodgers Sr, Rashod Berry and Demetrius Taylor – have been suspended indefinitely after they were charged with betting on American football games in 2022.

Retrospective Ban

Chapman was barely out of his teenage years when he committed a breach of the Football Association’s betting rules while playing for Blackburn.

The now 25-year-old has been charged with placing a bet or bets six years ago following a retrospective investigation by the FA, although the exact nature of his breach is not yet known.

His current employer, Bradford City, have confirmed that they will stand by Chapman, with the club writing in a statement: “Harry Chapman has the full support of everyone at Bradford City AFC, and will continue to train with his teammates as normal throughout pre-season until further notice.”

Under the FA’s rule E8 (1)(b), professional footballers, coaches and support staff are banned from betting on the outcome of games – even if they have no direct association with those involved. They’re also prohibited from gambling on player transfers, managerial sackings/appointments and other such matters, and can face punishment if they are charged with providing inside information to others, as Kieran Trippier did back in 2020.

Lions Tamed

It would be fair to say that the NFL has a gambling problem.

Earlier this year, three players – Quintez Cephus, C.J. Moore and Shaka Toney (no relation to Brentford striker Ivan, who is currently banned from football for his own gambling rule breaches) – were charged with violations of the NFL’s gambling policy.

Cephus and Moore are the third and fourth players from the Detroit Lions to be charged with breaches of the NFL’s betting rules – the Michigan franchise will also miss Jameson Williams for the first six games of the 2023 season for a similar violation, while Stanley Berryhill has been let go from his contract for betting on sports.

Rodgers, Berry and Taylor are the latest additions to the rap sheet. The trio have now been released by the Indianapolis Colts, and will not be able to apply for reinstatement until the 2024 season at the earliest.

The franchise’s general manager, Chris Ballard, said: “The integrity of the game is of the utmost importance. We have made the following roster moves as a consequence of the determination that these players violated the league’s gambling policy.”

Another player, Nicholas Petit-Frere of the Tennessee Titans, has been handed a lesser punishment of a six-game ban after being found to have bet on other sports – it’s prohibited for any NFL player to bet at a team’s facility or while on official business. He can, however, play in pre-season games.

All told, ten players have been sanctioned for gambling rule violations in the past calendar year.

In the spirit of an age in which brevity is key when publishing content, the NFL have streamlined their rules on betting into six key points:

  • Don’t bet on the NFL
  • Don’t gamble at your team facility, while traveling for a road game or staying at a team hotel
  • Don’t have someone bet for you
  • Don’t share team ‘inside information’
  • Don’t enter a sportsbook during the NFL playing season
  • Don’t play daily fantasy football

Player Power

Nobody has, publicly at least, spoken out against anti-gambling rules in English sport.

And the same was true in North America too until Jonathan Jones, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, stuck his head above the parapet.

Jones took to his Twitter feed to launch an inquisitive tirade against the NFL’s anti-gambling position. The 29-year-old asked, rhetorically, why players aren’t allowed to gamble despite ‘risking my life’ out on the pitch.

He suggested that the rules should be changed so that a violation would only count if a player bet on games from which his team had a direct benefit from. Jones, in a reply to another comment, revealed he didn’t bet and was only ‘arguing logic.’

Whether logical or not, the NFL won’t be changing their gambling policy any time soon – nor will any other major sporting organisation, you fancy.