According to Showbiz411, the National Football League recently prohibited some of their players from participating in a charity poker tournament. Last Saturday, some 25 NFL players turned up at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas for a poker tournament to benefit the Starkey Hearing Foundation. The charity provides free hearing aids children and adults around the world. Big name celebrities and poker pros were also in attendance for the tournament that was donating all proceeds to the Minneapolis-based foundation.
But before it came time to “shuffle up and deal”, the NFL got wind of the tournament and ordered its players not to participate. They were told they could watch the event and cheer on participants, which they did, but that they could not play. Apparently some of the league’s most talented players, including Adrian Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald, made the trip to Vegas in order to participate in the tournament.
The NFL has had a long-standing battle against online gaming. In 2006, they fought to ensure that the UIGEA did not include language that would negatively affect fantasy football played on the Internet. News of prohibiting their players from participating in a charity poker tournament shows they haven’t softened in the least with regards to their views on poker or gambling.
Last year, the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith, participated in the WSOP Main Event. I was on hand for Day 1D in which Emmitt announced “shuffle up and play”, an errant rendition of the traditional “shuffle up and deal” calling announced prior to the start of live tournaments. Apparently the league takes a more relaxed approach with what their retired superstars choose to do with their free time than they do with their working players.