Ever since Calvin Ridley was suspended for a year for gambling on NFL games, the discussion of players gambling on their own sport has been a hot topic. Some have pointed out the hypocrisy of the NFL dropping the hammer on Ridley as the league is inundated by gambling and sportsbook ads. Some have pointed out the NFL placing a stiffer punishment on a player for gambling than for crimes like domestic violence.
Some have even questioned why there is even a rule preventing pro athletes from gambling in the first place. This is where Trevor Noah comes in. The Daily Show host talked about Ridley’s suspension and suggested that players should bet on their own games.
Noah said that players should “always be allowed to bet on yourself” but also be able to bet against their team if they know they have no chance to win. Because, as Noah put it, “If I was a New York Jet, I would bet against my–I know what’s gonna happen. Why not make some money from it.” The rub would be to make their bets public for transparency reasons and give fans a sense of what the players are thinking heading into their games.
What if we just let Calvin Ridley and other pro athletes bet on games? pic.twitter.com/KBwHPdGEr3
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) March 8, 2022
I kind of get where Noah’s coming from but it’s still a naive argument. Betting on your team to win, on its face, isn’t bad, but if an athlete gets in too deep and has heavy gambling debts, that’s when things can get really bad and that’s why Ridley’s being suspended in the first place. This happened in MLS just last year and while the player never bet on the team he plays for, the player came forward and sought counseling when he was concerned for his safety as his gambling debts piled up.
That being said, if I were to look at this from Noah’s perspective as a news and political pundit, if I saw politicians buying and selling stocks based on the insider info they receive as members of Congress, it’s not that much different than a football player using their insider info to bet on a football game?