The National Football League announced on Friday that Arizona Cardinals cornerback Josh Shaw has been suspended indefinitely for betting on NFL games. The suspension will go through at least next season. On Monday, ESPN reported that not only had Shaw bet on NFL games, but he actually bet on his own team’s games, as well.
According to ESPN’s sources, Shaw, who has been out of action all season with an injury, placed a parlay bet on November 10th. The bet involved the second halves of three games that weekend, including the game between the Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Shaw bet on the Bucs, who were 1-point favorites for the second half. Despite losing the game, Arizona won the second half by a point, resulting in Shaw’s parlay to lose.
Shaw was placed on injured reserve in August and has not been around the team much this season. He was in Las Vegas with friends when he placed bets at local sportsbooks. When filling out information for an account, he was honest and listed his occupation as “professional football player.” Caesars reported Shaw’s wager to the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the NFL as soon as it was noticed.
The NFL said that it found no evidence of anything associated with Shaw’s betting that would affect the integrity of the game. No inside information was used. It would be unusual for someone trying to compromise a game to utilize a parlay bet, as winning requires other bets to come through. Plus, Shaw was not playing and therefore could not directly affect the game.
The NFL did find that Shaw bet on NFL games on more than one occasion this year.
In a statement on Friday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said:
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. 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.
Shaw is not eligible for reinstatement until February 2021.
This is not Shaw’s first encounter with controversy. While in college at USC, he suffered a high ankle sprain, which he said was the result of jumping out of a second-story window to save his 7-year old nephew from drowning. He later admitted that he lied – he did not divulge how he actually hurt himself – and was suspended indefinitely.
The most famous instance of NFL players being suspended for gambling was when the Green Bay Packers’ Paul Hornung and the Detroit Lions’ Alex Karras were suspended for the season in 1963. Hornung, one of the best players of Vince Lombardi’s dynasty, went on to be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Alex Karras made the Pro Bowl multiple times and later gained fame in retirement as an actor, playing Mongo in the movie Blazing Saddles and George Papadopolis on the TV show “Webster.”