NFLPA Worried about Player Privacy with Advent of Legal Sports Gaming

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While both sports fans and many sports gamblers are rejoicing that sports betting may become legal in numerous states within the next six months, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) is not excited about sports gaming.

The NFLPA has publicly stated it is concerned that, with the advent of legal sports gaming, there is the possibility that player information could be released into the public domain without their knowledge or consent.

The NFLPA

The NFLPA

The NFL Players Association is the union that represents current and retired NFL players. The organization, which has been in operation since 1956, represents nearly 6,000 current and former NFL players. The NFLPA is largely responsible for better playing conditions, higher pay, and other benefits and compensation for its members. The conditions in the early days of the NFL were hard on the players. There were no retirement benefits. Players could be traded from team to team without notice. There also were no guaranteed salaries or healthcare. The NFLPA has been both praised and criticized by players. It is usually been praised for ensuring fair player treatment, but it has been criticized for siding with the NFL in certain matters, such as a drug policy that bans players for a specific period of time for the first drug offense, and can mean a lifetime ban if the player does not stop using drugs.

The Supreme Court Decision

In mid-May, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in Murphy v. the NCAA, et al., that the federal law prohibiting single-sports gaming in every state except Nevada was unconstitutional. The law, which had been in effect in since 1992, was overturned with a 7-2 vote by the High Court. New Jersey, which brought the lawsuit, immediately began sports gaming in the state. It was followed by Delaware. It is estimated that six more states may legalize sports betting within the next six months since they already have casino or horse track gaming in place and can easily adapt to single-sports betting.

The Problem with Sports Gaming

The NFLPA has asserted that if sports gaming is legalized in many states, as it is expected to be, the players’ right to privacy could be violated.

There are three areas of great concern to the NFLPA. First, there is the notion that trades and other contract issues could be public knowledge before the players have signed, which could have an outcome on both teams and players, especially if information leaks to the press. Second, the NFLPA is concerned that personal medical information, such as injury reports, or reasons for player absences during games, could be made public. This issue was a concern during the NFL season in 2016, when Matt Ryan, the Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback, missed practice before the Super Bowl for personal reasons. Reporters later learned that Ryan’s wife went into premature labor, which was the reason for his absence. Subjects, such as health history and personal leave, should be kept secret, according to the NFLPA. Third, the players are concerned about the integrity of the game if enough states pass gaming legislation. The NFLPA has stated that if players need money for whatever reason, they might be willing to throw a game in order to get money, which they believe could ruin the sport.

While the player’s association appears to have expressed legitimate concerns about the integrity of the game, many sports reporters and other sports fans feel that with the proper regulations in place, such as a group to control data and gaming information, player’s privacy can be protected and the integrity of the game can be preserved.

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A Massachusetts native, blogger Angeline Everett grew up in the Allston neighborhood of Boston and earned a degree in casino management from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. After graduating, Angeline moved to Atlantic City where she joined the young team at the Borgata Casino as a compliance representative, while blogging on the side. After a few years in the back office, Angeline moved to the floor to work first at a casual poker dealer and later casual poker floor supervisor. Fascinated with games of chance since she was a child, Angeline currently divides her time between blogging and work on her first book.