The NFL has told members of the Miami Dolphins that they are no longer allowed to participate in a poker tournament at a South Florida casino despite being part of it for the last three years.
Since 2012 Dolphins players have participated as “celebrity players” at the “See You Later” poker tournament at the Seminole Casino in Coconut Creek, Florida, to help the tournament grow. But now the league has put the kibosh on the idea.
On Monday the league told players A.J. Francis, Jason Fox, and Jordan Cameron that they would not be allowed to be the “bounties” at this year’s event. As in previous years, celebrity players like the Dolphins are targeted for elimination by the other poker players. Once a celebrity is eliminated from a table, the winner of the pot gets a “bounty.”
But a day ahead of Tuesday’s tournament the league sent the players and the hosts of the poker tournament an email informing them that the Dolphins were not allowed to attend. The league cited new anti-gambling rules that prevents NFL players from promoting casinos or gambling.
Local sports radio host Andy Slater, the emcee for the poker tournament, criticized the move.
“The NFL is just doing this [with the Dolphins] as a precaution,” Slater told the Sun-Sentinel. “It’s an absolute joke. The NFL is built on gambling. This is the players’ time off, and they hang out with fans at a legal gambling event at a legit casino.”
He also pointed out that the tournament has been going on for several years with Dolphins players in attendance working as draws for the crowd.
This isn’t the first time the NFL has nixed players from associating, even loosely, gambling. The league forced Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo to drop out of an agreed upon appearance at a fantasy football convention in Las Vegas.
Romo criticized the NFL for its broad new rules saying the league was suddenly like “high school” the way it is operating. He also said that the league ruled by “scare tactics” instead of treating everyone as adults.
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