The NFL looks like they have taken a common sense approach regarding charity events. Some of you may remember last February when the NFL banned 30 players from participating in a charity poker tournament in Las Vegas that was to benefit Pros for Africa. The net proceeds of the event were to go to charity, but the NFL's held tight to their stance against casino games
and gambling and prohibited players from playing.
As such, when it was announced in March that Tanner Purdem, Marquice Cole, and Drew Coleman of the NY Jets
NY Jets were among the players to play in the 3rd Annual NYC Celebrity Poker Tournament, many figured the NFL would step in and prevent them from playing. The event came and went and the players were allowed to participate. This event was for the Mt. Sinai Children's Hospital and Ride 2 Recovery and the event raised over $20,000 for charity.
After their stance earlier in the year, why would the NFL back away from barring Jet players and others from the event? Were they being preferential to the charity involved? Were they embarrassed over the negative publicity that the February banning brought upon them? Chances are it was neither of those things. In reality, the only thing that may have made the difference is the venue and the perceptions associated.
What we mean by this is the original event in February was to be held at the Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas. When you think of the Golden Nugget, you naturally think of all forms of gambling and that would have easily tied NFL players
to gambling. The event in New York was held at a Dave and Busters. When you think of Dave and Busters, you think of food, or games, or their funny commercials. Highly unlikely that any serious gambling was going to go on at a Dave and Busters as opposed to what could potentially happen at the Golden Nugget.
While this is purely speculation, it isn't outside the realm of possibility. It is much easier to let an activity like a charity poker event slide if you are in a venue where someone cannot easily go out and blow $20,000 on one spin of a roulette wheel. Public perception is everything and in the end, that may have been the biggest difference as to why the NYC event got a pass.
Of course, the NFL's hard stance on gambling is a bit ridiculous considering the ease of which players can play casino online
games. They are so worried about some bookie getting their hooks into players that they tend to lose sight that gambling is an activity enjoyed responsibly by many. In the upcoming future, the NFL may be forced to reexamine their stance as online gambling is close to national legalization. Once that happens, there may be little way the NFL can enforce their anti-gambling stance on players.