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Kevin Stefanski reminding players of NFL’s gambling rules

Browns HC says team continues to educate the players on what not to do regarding sports gambling.

Cleveland Browns Offseason Workout Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

The NFL is abundantly clear on the rules for players and team employees when it comes to gambling now that sportsbooks are legal in 35 states and are being incorporated into some stadiums.

Don’t bet on NFL games. Don’t bet on anything when you are inside the team facility or taking part in a team-based activity. Follow those simple instructions and everything will be fine.

But if you don’t? Then the league will come down on you, which is a lesson that players like Calvin Ridley (one-year suspension last season for including the Atlanta Falcons in a six-team parlay), Detroit’s C.J. Moore and Quintez Cephus (one-year suspensions for betting on NFL games), Washington’s Shaka Toney (indefinite suspension for betting on NFL games), Detroit’s Jameson Williams and Stanley Berryhill (six-game suspensions for betting on sports while at the team facility), and Indianapolis’ Isaiah Rodgers Sr. (currently under investigation for betting on NFL games and betting from the team facility) have learned the hard way.

There has been a lot written and said about the so-called hypocrisy of the league penalizing players for gambling when commercials for the various gambling apps fill each week’s games. But every workplace has rules that need to be followed, and it is no different than if someone works for a company that is aligned with a beer manufacturer that does not mean they can day drink in their cubicle while on the job.

Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski talked about the importance of educating players last week during mandatory minicamp - the last chance he will have to speak with the players until training camp opens in July - and he stressed the importance of educating everyone (quote via a team-provided transcript):

“We take it really seriously. You could ask the players. We’ve talked a lot about it throughout this offseason. Just because you’re teaching off of things that are happening around our game and happening with other teams, and we don’t want to lose a guy for any reason. We don’t want them to get injured. We don’t want to lose a guy for breaking a rule of any sort. So you have to educate them on the rules because there are some things that are new, as you know, with sports gambling.

“So part of my job and our job with this organization is to educate our players. We’re going to spend more time on it. We talked about it yesterday. We’re going to spend more time on it this afternoon as well.”

It is not surprising that the Browns are staying on top of the changing landscape regarding gambling, but it is still good to know they are taking things seriously. This season is shaping up to be a pivotal one for a team with realistic hopes of returning to the playoffs, and while you can’t control things like injuries, not running afoul of the league’s rules is completely within everyone’s control.

Hopefully, the players heed Stefanski’s words so that no surprises pop up down the road that could derail the season.