Posted on November 30, 2019, by Travis Pulver
League officials have been concerned about the integrity of the game ever since the Supreme Court opened the door for states to legalize gambling. But the league’s position on gambling has always been and remains crystal clear—don’t do it. Arizona Cardinals defensive back Josh Shaw should have known better having been in the league for a few years.
But he gambled. He got caught. So, now he is suspended indefinitely with the chance to get reinstated in February 2021 at the earliest.
He will likely appeal the decision and point to the precedent set back in 1963 with Paul Hornung and Alex Karras and again in 1983 with Art Schlichter. Hornung and Karras never bet on their team, wagered around $100 each time, and got a season-long suspension. Schlichter wagered so much he couldn’t pay his bookies—but didn’t bet on Colts games and got a year as well.
It is unclear how much Shaw wagered or if he wagered on Cardinals games. He has been on the IR since the first week of the preseason; it is safe to say he has not been around the team much. Shaw did not have or use information or do anything that impacted the outcome of a game.
The league has also pointed out that the Cardinals had no knowledge of Shaw’s behavior.
According to reports, Shaw went to Vegas with some high school friends earlier in the season. Since he was in Vegas, he did what people do in Sin City and put some money down on a few games. When he realized he did something wrong, he cooperated fully with the NFL’s investigators and didn’t try to hide it.
To repay him for his cooperation, the NFL decided to make an example of him by giving him the harshest penalty for such an offense in decades. He is claiming ignorance of the rules, of course. If he was aware of what he was doing, why would he use his own ID and casino player’s card? But the league will likely be reluctant to reduce his suspension.
For one, they are going to want to appear to be tough on gambling. The league will also likely point at Shaw and say that he has been in the league long enough to know better. So, it will stick, and it will be the harshest and most worthless punishment ever handed down by the NCAA.
With Shaw on the IR, the punishment for this season serves no purpose. That may or may not have impacted the league when it decided to suspend him for next season as well. But he will probably not even have a job.
Josh Shaw is on a one-year contract with the Cardinals. It was already unlikely that the Cardinals were going to resign him. But now that he is going to be ineligible, it would be foolish to resign him.
The league has effectively punished a guy that is already not playing and will likely not be playing next season anyway.
Way to send a message, NFL.