Travis, Jason Kelce Condemn NFL Players Participating in Sports Betting

Grant Mitchell
By:
Grant Mitchell
07/20/2023
News

Highlights

  • Travis and Jason delivered their verdicts on last Wednesday’s podcast episode
  • The NFL has already suspended nine players in 2023 for violating the gambling policy
  • The NFL has stepped up its efforts to educate players about the perils of gambling

NFL superstars and brothers Travis and Jason Kelce came down hard on players that break the league’s gambling policy in a recent episode of their podcast New Heights

Episode 48, posted to the show’s YouTube channel last week, saw both Kelces deliver harsh verdicts of players they believe are breaking crystal-clear rules. Those violations have led to several series of suspensions, famously including ex-Atlanta Falcons wideout Calvin Ridley, and recently, Indianapolis Colts corner Isaiah Rodgers Sr

In total, nine players have already been reprimanded by the NFL in 2023—and the Kelces are struggling to understand how.

The Kelce's weigh in

Episode 48 of New Heights saw the fun-loving brothers, who squared off against one another in the Super Bowl in February (where Travis’ Kansas City Chiefs beat Jason’s Philadelphia Eagles 38-35), discuss a range of topics, including Travis’ participation in “The Match” (a star-studded golf event), which sports would be better with alcohol, the dangers of naming children after other people, and more.

As free and loose as the show normally is, it hit a serious point when it got to discussing the NFL’s recent gambling-related suspensions. Travis in particular was highly expressive when discussing the matter.

“What am I missing?” Travis said. “Where are players getting it confused that they can gamble on NFL games?”

“I don’t know what they do in Philly,” Travis continued. “I’ve only been in Kansas City. But every single year in training camp, you get told that there is no betting in the facility or in any NFL building…  you cannot bet on NFL games at all. That’s been my understanding of the rule the entire time. Before sports betting was allowed; before we had all these casinos as our sponsors in the NFL… I’ve completely understood that you cannot bet on games. Why is this offseason everybody getting hit with betting on NFL games?”

Jason countered that either players are betting on games more frequently because of the prevalence and ease of access of online sportsbooks (such as FanDuel and DraftKings), or they are only now getting caught because they are easier to trace.

He also revealed that players often make person-to-person wagers with one another but said the lines become blurred at times.

Dealing with temptations

The Kelce's hail from Ohio and played their college football at the University of Cincinnati. That’s the same town where Pete Rose, a Cincinnati Reds and MLB icon, was blacklisted from the sport because of his forays into sports betting while he was a player and manager.

To this day, Rose, who was indefinitely suspended in 1989 and has not been reinstated, is the face of how sports betting can damage athletes’ careers. Travis said on the podcast that example alone was enough to discourage him from placing bets.

“I’ve seen what happened to his career, and I think, why even flirt with [sports betting]? Why even play around with it?” 

Jason also said that the players’ willingness to bet on games, including the ones they participate in, has put their own safety and the league’s integrity in question.

 “[Legal sports betting has] been made very much normalized in our culture recently, and it’s becoming so in the NFL, and it does affect the integrity of the game. It’s not as simple as just betting on your team to win. There’s a lot more factors in play here.”

The NFL has been active in responding to the growing gambling problem by requiring mandatory educational classes for incoming rookies and sending experts to team facilities around the league. It also released six golden rules to avoid conflicts with the gambling policy and enlisted retired quarterback Tom Brady in a video message that encouraged players not to fall into the clutches of sportsbooks.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.