Arizona Cardinals defensive back Josh Shaw has been suspended through at least the 2020 season for betting on NFL games, the NFL announced on Friday afternoon.
“The continued success of the NFL depends directly on each of us doing everything necessary to safeguard the integrity of the game and the reputations of all who participate in the league,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in the statement. “At the core of this responsibility is the longstanding principle that betting on NFL games, or on any element of a game, puts at risk the integrity of the game, damages public confidence in the NFL, and is forbidden under all circumstances. If you work in the NFL in any capacity, you may not bet on NFL football.”
League rules specifically prohibit employees from “placing, soliciting or facilitating any bets on any NFL game.” Shaw, who is on injured reserve, can petition the league for reinstatement on February 15, 2021, according to the NFL’s statement.
The investigation was kept quiet and not many top executives of teams were aware.
While Shaw did bet on NFL games, a league source says that it is not sharing whether he bet on Cardinals games. The league says its investigation did not find that Shaw had or used any inside information on the games he bet.
Shaw was drafted in 2014 by the Cincinnati Bengals in the fourth round after playing at both Florida and USC. The Cardinals are Shaw’s fourth team in five years; he’s played zero snaps this season. In addition to the Bengals and Cardinals, Shaw also played for the Buccaneers and Chiefs.
Sports betting is now legal in 19 states after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on sports betting, allowing states to legalize it if they wish. Arizona is not one of the states with legal wagering.
In 1963, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle suspended Paul Hornung and Alex Karras for the entire season after an investigation shows they bet on NFL games. They never bet against their own team and usually bet $100. The league fined five Detroit lions players $2,000 and the team $4,000 for the incident.
It wasn’t until 1983 that another NFL player was suspended for gambling. Baltimore Colts quarterback Art Schlichter was banned for a year after he bet so much, including his entire $350,000 signing bonus, that he couldn’t pay off his bookies. Schlichter didn’t bet on Colts games.
Aside from Karras, Hornung and Schlichter, John Stark, a Baltimore Ravens draft pick, was placed on leave after the league uncovered he was betting in 1996.