As if James Harrison needed another reason to hate Roger Goodell. After being investigated for a connection to steroid use, multiple fines for illegal hits, a suspension for illegal hits, and a ridiculous amount of “random” drug tests, Goodell is looking into the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker again, but this time for something he did off the field.
Recently, Harrison and several other NFL players were in Las Vegas for a football arm wrestling tournament, per USA Today.
Dubbed the inaugural “Pro Football Arm Wrestling Championship” — with heavyweight and light heavyweight crowns in play — it’s a made-for-TV deal, to air on CBS over two weekends later this spring.
Seems harmless enough, right?
The NFL policy on gambling strictly prohibits players from appearing in Vegas for any type of promotional event.
That the event is being staged at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino has captured the attention of the suits at NFL headquarters on Park Avenue. The NFL’s gambling policy, of course, prohibits players from appearing at casinos as part of promotional events.
According to the NFL, players participating in this specific event — without pre-approval — are in violation of the gambling policy and subject to discipline.
The NFL released a statement regarding the event, as well as why they are looking into these players violating the league’s policy.
“Had we been asked in advance if this was acceptable, we would have indicated that it was in direct violation of the gambling policy,” Joe Lockhart, the NFL’s executive vice president for communications and public affairs said. “No one sought pre-approval.”
But, isn’t the NFL allowing the Raiders to move to Las Vegas? How is that going to work with a team officially located in the one place players can’t appear for promotional events?
“We did not change any of our gambling policies in the context of the Raiders relocation,” Goodell said in late March, as the NFL owners meetings wrapped up in Phoenix. “It wasn’t necessary and the Raiders didn’t ask us to do that. We don’t see changing our current policies.”
The one area which seems to be overlooked is how this event will be broadcast on CBS later this spring. In case you forgot, CBS is a major television distributor of the NFL, the AFC in particular. Considering they are behind the event, Goodell might have a major NFL contributor in his ear when it comes to ruling on this type of event.
The NFL is launching an investigation into the event as a whole. Meanwhile, it looks like James Harrison and company had a pretty darn good time at the event.
More photos like these can be found on Harrison’s official Instagram page.