Indianapolis Colts Waive Multiple Players Amid NFL Betting Allegations

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jun 8, 2023 12:00 AM
The Indianapolis Colts have waived two players that were suspended as part of an NFL betting scandal.

Another NFL betting scandal has just been made public. And this one cuts right to the core of sports betting in Indiana.

Multiple players from the Indianapolis Colts were suspended for the entire 2023 NFL season and subsequently waived by the team after allegedly placing wagers on games that took place last year. The players in question: Cornerback Isaiah Rodgers Sr. and defensive end Rashod Berry. Free agent defensive tackle Demetrius Taylor was also suspended as part of the investigation.

This is not the first time the NFL has been embroiled in a football betting controversy. It won't be the last, either. There is now legal sports betting in the USA for more than 30 states. And with increased availability and access comes the potential for more violations.

On the surface, the NFL may be uniquely vulnerable to additional scandals. The number of NFL players per roster exceeds those in the NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS. More than any other league, the NFL also traffics in non-guaranteed contracts and, due to the physical nature of the sport, shorter career spans. The window to earn serious money is so much smaller for most NFL players; the average career is under four seasons. Does that inherently making betting on NFL games more tempting than it would be for players in other sports? We can't know for sure.

Anyway, what happened in this instance? Should we expect more of this in the future? What, if anything, could this do for the NFL's overarching betting policy? Let's sift through all the pertinent details.

Colts Reacted 'Swiftly' to NFL Betting Violations

Not much else is known about the violations committed by the involved players. Though the website Sportshandle reported that an unnamed Colts player placed "hundreds" of bets on NFL games, including some of Indianapolis' tilts, the specifics of these infractions haven't been confirmed or made public. Some of the affected players have posted apologies on social media, but that's about the extent of the front-facing facts.

For the Colts' part, they apparently didn't hesitate to cut ties with two players. It didn't matter that Rodgers profiled as a potential starter, either. As team general manager Chris Ballard said in a statement, according to the Associated Press:

“We have made the following roster moves as a consequence of the determination that these players violated the league’s gambling policy. The integrity of the game is of the utmost importance. As an organization we will continue to educate our players, coaches, and staff on the policies in place and the significant consequences that may occur with violations.”

At the moment, there does appear to be some confusion over NFL betting policies for players and team officials. That has led to attempts at clarification by the league and multiple outlets. Even with this effort, though, the details can be hazy.

The Associated Press outlined the NFL betting stance as follows: "Players, coaches, team officials and all league personnel [are barred] from betting on NFL games, placing bets at team facilities or team hotels or having someone else place a bet for them. NFL executive vice president of communications, public affairs and policy Jeff Miller said last week only players are permitted to bet on non-NFL games following consultation with the NFL Players Association."

NFL Betting Violations are on the Rise

This latest incident involving members of the Indianapolis Colts is just another in an increasingly long line of violations. Over the past year, at least 10 players have been suspended as a result of sports betting allegations or violations. Former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley, now of the Jacksonville Jaguars, remains the most prominent of those impacted. He was suspended for the entire 2022 NFL season.

Many have criticized the NFL from every side of the spectrum on this issue. Some believe the league needs to do a better job of communicating and outlining NFL betting rules to the players. Others believe ignorance of the policies is simply an excuse—especially when infractions entail wagering on actual NFL games. Nearly everyone, meanwhile, agrees the league should do more to identify and help players with gambling problems. 

And yet, it isn't totally clear how more restrictive regulations or stronger anti-wagering messages will ultimately be received. After all, every one of the league's 32 teams profit greatly off NFL betting. The league itself has sponsorship agreements with some of the best online sportsbooks in the United States. Any stance they take can be seen as hypocritical.

To be sure, the NFL isn't alone in facing this dilemma. Every professional sports league in America has to grapple with the new reality. Sports betting is inextricably tied to every event nowadays, no matter how big or small. Everything from how injuries and trades are reported to how teams set their lineups to how media companies with broadcast rights relay picks and predictions is being put on the microscope.

Some believe it's only a matter of time before state and federal policymakers are forced to intervene. Others are less concerned. They don't believe sports betting scandals involving players and team officials will ever go away, but they don't think they will worsen with time, either. Many see this issue as already being overblown, or as something that will trail off as sports betting becomes less of a novelty. It's impossible to tell who's right—or at least, who's less wrong. The fact of the matter is, legal sports betting in the USA is here to stay, which means scandals like this are, too.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan first began writing about sports back in 2011. At the time, his expertise lied in the NBA and NFL. More than one decade, that remains the case. But he's also expanded his catalog to include extensive knowledge and analysis on the NHL, MLB, tennis, NASCAR, college ba...

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