This NBA ruling should terrify the Chiefs (and the rest of the NFL)

After years of sports gambling becoming more legal around the United States, as well as more highly promoted by the major league sports organizations, the inevitable has finally happened and the result should finally give NFL players the scare that has been needed over the past few years.
Jontay Porter, a former Mizzou Tiger basketball player, became the first NBA player to ever be handed a lifelong suspension for gambling on his own team and himself while giving insider information to unknown gamblers.
Jontay Porter, a former Mizzou Tiger basketball player, became the first NBA player to ever be handed a lifelong suspension for gambling on his own team and himself while giving insider information to unknown gamblers. / Alika Jenner/GettyImages

For the better part of a decade, the legalized sports gambling world has tip-toed around a very serious and problematic situation brewing under every major and minor league sports organization—that is until this past week when the NBA handed out the first official lifelong suspension for gambling on one's own team and oneself.

Jontay Porter, a former Mizzou Tiger back in 2018, was originally investigated back on March 25th with regards to particular prop bets related to his statistics in games against the L.A. Clippers on January 26 and the Sacramento Kings on March 20.

Against L.A., Porter did not attempt a shot but he did grab three rebounds and had one assist. He also did not score against the Kings nearly two months later when he only played three minutes. The prop bets related to the investigation revolved around the unders on Porter's three-pointers and even for his team, the Toronto Raptors, to lose.

Fast forward to this past Wednesday when Porter was levied a lifelong ban after the investigation found that he'd placed "at least 13 bets on NBA games using an associate's online betting account." The bets, which totaled up to just under $22,000 in total winnings, "ranged from $15 to $22,000 for a total of $54,000." Porter was also caught disclosing confidential injury information to an NBA bettor that he knew as well.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver called the accusations (and subsequent proof) a "cardinal sin" that would eventually result in the first-ever lifelong ban from the sport for any player in the modern era. The only other NBA players to ever receive lifelong bans were Roger Brown and Tony Jackson way back in 1961 when point shaving in college basketball came to light.

Why should the Chiefs or other NFL players care about Jontay Porter's ban from the NBA?

You may be asking yourself "I'm a Chiefs fan. We don't have an NBA team, so why should I care?" Well, gambling has already become somewhat of a problem in the NFL over the past few years with some major punishments already handed out to players like Calvin Ridley and Jameson Williams.

Despite Ridley receiving a one-year suspension when he was a member of the Atlanta Falcons, the NFL still saw multiple players breaking the new sports gambling policies that they had enacted over the course of the past three seasons. This has worried fans of the NFL for multiple reasons, mainly the fact that one or many of their favorite players and role models could become sidelined for long periods of time all because of a few simple clicks on their phone.

Just last year five separate players, including one of Detroit's star wide receivers (Williams), were suspended. Three of them only earned a six-game suspension, and two earned indefinite suspensions.

The waters have already been muddied in the NFL, which is why Porter's suspension in the NBA could be viewed as a good thing for fans of the gridiron instead of the hardwood. This light shining on sports gambling inside the locker room and a heavy gavel landing on the head of the former Mizzou Tiger points the way for heavier punishments from Goodell in the future if any players were to be stupid enough to do what Porter did.

But, with so much of the NFL's marketing aimed at getting you, me, and the rest of the world to gamble on the product, is it right to blame some of the players for attempting to place bets inside their stadium? As long as they aren't betting on their teams to win or lose—like former Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose—then couldn't one see the sliver of doubt inside the action? It appears that it won't matter, especially in the NBA, which is the smartest thing that can happen with gambling becoming so widespread, so easily accessible, and so heavily promoted by the sports leagues themselves.

How sports gambling has already fractured major sports since 2018

At the moment, only two NFL players have ever had a lifelong ban slapped on them: Frank Filchock and Merle Hapes. The two former New York Giants were accused of accepting bribes back before the 1946 NFL Championship games, an act on par with gambling on one's own team. (Filchock was later reinstated but never played another snap in the NFL.)

Those players didn't have the luxury of legalized sports gambling though. That's what seems to have caused an epidemic in major league sports just in the past six years. For starters, back in 2019, the Arizona Cardinals' cornerback Josh Shaw was suspended indefinitely for betting a parlay that included his team while he was on injured reserve.

Shaw actually played for Kansas City the year prior, only playing four games in a Chiefs uniform before heading to Tampa and eventually Arizona where his career would end in an unprecedented way.

That was just one year before another Kansas City athlete got caught and suspended, this time in the form of Sporting KC's Felipe Hernandez who was caught betting on MLS games that did not include his own team. Hernandez immediately accepted his punishment and enrolled in gambling addiction treatment before coming back to the sport he loves just one year later.

Then came the Ridley suspension, which many thought would scare other players into dropping their DraftKings accounts. Just nine months later, however, another NFL name would come up with a year-long suspension in the form of former Dallas Cowboy star wide receiver Miles Austin. Austin, who was then the New York Jets' wide receiver coach, was caught gambling on non-NFL and non-college football games and suspended for a year.

Outside of football (both American and European), baseball has also seen it's fair share of problems, including the recent Shohei Ohtani drama where his interpreter was caught gambling with the Dodgers' superstar's money, equaling up to $41 million in losses. Before that though, Alabama had to fire their head coach due to suspicious bets that were linked to him.

College football has also dealt with a serious issue in the state of Iowa last year when 41 separate student-athletes and one full-time employee across Iowa and Iowa State University were suspected of violating gambling rules. That seems to be the peak of the gambling problems across sports, but not much has come out of Iowa following the release of all the information.

So, thanks to the NBA and their strong-handed punishment, the NFL now has the script to ban players if they deem them worthy—something that should be celebrated by all football fans as it marks a sense of sportsmanship that could easily be lost within this new world of DraftKings and FanDuels.