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Maverick Carter’s gambling admission has direct, and significant, relevance to the NFL

On the surface, the news that Maverick Carter, close friend and business partner of LeBron James, admitted to betting on games illegally through a bookie means nothing to the NFL. At a deeper level, it means everything.

It underscores the fact that the NFL has no authority or control over the people who represent players and who, in turn, receive and possess plenty of inside information about matters such as injuries, game planning, and any/all other relevant tidbits that can be gleaned through the constant communications with a network of players and, as part of the agent’s job, team officials.

As explained in July 2023, neither the NFL nor the NFL Players Association have a specific policy regarding agents and gambling.

When James addressed Carter’s admission on Thursday night, James initially said he didn’t know anything about Carter’s betting habits. James then added this, via the Los Angeles Times: “Maverick’s his own man and at the end of the day, gambling is legal. I mean, you can go on your phone right now and do whatever you want. And he has no affiliation with the NBA or NFL, so, he can do what he wants to do.”

In theory, that’s accurate. The absence, however, of any internal or external authority for governing the use or misuse of inside information by agents or others with direct access to players and coaches could help fuel an eventual effort by, for example, Congress to create a federal agency with the ability to regulate everyone involved in a given sport — teams, coaches, executive, players, agents, family members, etc.

Consider what happened last December, when the betting line for a Cowboys-Eagles game shifted dramatically before news emerged that quarterback Jalen Hurts had an injury that might keep him from playing. Someone knew before everyone else did. And agents — who quite often are the ones to tip off reporters as to matters of this nature — are in position to know the truth before anyone else.

It’s not just the agent for the injured player. Teammates find out about the injury. Teammates tell their own agents. And off it goes.

The Maverick Carter news proves one simple reality. A major scandal is coming. When it does, the reckoning will follow. And the aftermath could entail major changes to the manner in which professional sports govern themselves.