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NFL, NFLPA have no specific gambling policy for agents

The NFL’s gambling policy applies to a broad range of “NFL Personnel.” The policy does not apply to agents.

The NFL Players Association has the power to regulate the NFL’s contract advisors, generally known as agents. But the NFLPA says it has no direct rule against agent gambling.

Per a union spokesperson, the regulations regarding NFLPA-certified agents has no specific gambling clause, “but they are implicitly covered in language that prohibits violations of federal and state laws.”

By way of example, Michigan law prohibits an agent from gambling on football. But that’s just one state. How many others have taken the time to pass legislation aimed at specifically preventing sports agents from wagering on the sports whose players they represent?

Beyond the existence of a rule, there must be an investigation and enforcement mechanism. How would the NFLPA even know to start looking into a potential violation? Would it simply be the byproduct of a criminal prosecution that quite possibly would never happen?

That’s the rule (or non-rule) for NFLPA-certified agents. There are other representatives of NFL figures who have no regulation at all. For example, those who represent coaches and executives have no body that regulates their behavior. Also, players who are officially representing themselves are often using a non-certified NFLPA agent, who falls beyond the reach of the union.

It’s an issue that the league and the union should devote time and effort to addressing. Agents placing bets based on their unique information is one thing. Agents trafficking in their unique information is another.

Already, plenty of agents give inside information to reporters, in exchange for favorable treatment of the agents and their clients — especially if/when their clients get in any kind of trouble. It’s a very real quid pro quo that has existed for decades. So why not adjust the quid pro quo?

If tangible value can be obtained for information by sharing it with reporters who will “take care” of the agent and/or the agent’s clients when needed, why not dangle it for something more tangible, like cash?

And agents know plenty. They know where a free agent who can move betting markets will sign before he does. The best agents know when and where players will be drafted.

Some agents surely have picked up game-plan information, whether from a player-client who is antsy because he’s due to get a lot of touches on offense or from a coach-client who wants to sound out the attack that is planned in an upcoming game.

Why are we pointing these issues out? The hope is that, by paying attention to the ways that a gambling scandal could emerge, maybe someone will plug those potential leaks before something happens that harms the game and affects the manner in which fans perceive it.