John Barr, ESPN.comFeb 1, 2024, 02:15 PM ET
- Joined ESPN in June 2003
- Winner: 2013 Peabody Award; 2011 Edward R. Murrow Award/Video Investigative Reporting
- Covers breaking files, investigative pieces and human passion points
TAMPA, Fla. — Feeble Indianapolis Colts cornerback Isaiah Rodgers Sr., in his first interview since being suspended by the NFL for betting on his bag team, says that whereas bets were produced from his myth, they were made for others and now not himself.
Rodgers said the wagers, at the side of some smaller ones and a $1,000 prop guess, were positioned from his on-line sports activities gambling myth. He said they were made for folk that lived in Florida, the place on-line sports activities betting for the time being remained unlawful.
“Simply attempting to reduction chums and family out, merely intellectual that it wasn’t honest at the time in Florida and it used to be in Indiana,” Rodgers instantaneous ESPN.
Rodgers, citing honest causes, declined to name the folk that he says he positioned bets for.
“On the discontinuance of the day I knew the guidelines, I wasn’t supposed to attain it and I received to use what comes with it,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers used to be suspended on June 29 for violating the NFL’s gambling protection. That identical day, he used to be waived by the Colts.
As a part of an ESPN “Commence air the Lines” note at sports activities betting, Rodgers talked about the wagers, the suspension and the scheme he is been facing his season-long absence from the game.
In suspending Rodgers, NFL investigators particular that he had dedicated loads of offenses. He’d positioned bets at the Colts’ facility. Even worse, he’d guess on his bag team — one thing that under league ideas at the time supposed a one-year suspension.
Since then, the penalty for a player betting on his bag team used to be increased to a two-year suspension.
On the time of his suspension, ESPN reported that Rodgers had positioned extra than 100 bets — at the side of on Colts games — and most were in the $25 to $50 fluctuate. One wager, particularly, stood out: a $1,000 prop guess on the over/under on rushing yards by Colts working abet Jonathan Taylor, which Rodgers won.
“That report is correct, with it being $1,000, but that report wasn’t produced from my tool,” Rodgers instantaneous ESPN. “The $25 to $50 bets are precisely correct, but it certainly used to be extra loopy-leg parlays with merely $25 attempting to non-public a loopy amount. Simply silly bets. Nothing too excessive. It used to be never, ‘This guess right here is going to exchange my lifestyles.'”
Rodgers used to be asked why he would jeopardize the $850,000 salary he used to be field to assemble for the length of the 2023-24 season.
“I puzzled myself, too,” Rodgers instantaneous ESPN. “But I thought I doubtlessly would now not acquire caught, would now not acquire in agonize.”
Rodgers used to be having a note with his family shut to his Tampa-tell home when Colts peculiar manager Chris Ballard known as to speak that he had been waived.
“Or now not it is a name that you just never in point of fact need, intellectual that a team that made your needs come correct is now the team letting you proceed,” Rodgers said. “It used to be a heartbreaking moment at the time because I used to be in point of fact with my family in the store and I needed to interrupt that files to them after I received in the automobile.”
Ballard issued an announcement at the time, asserting “the integrity of the game is of the utmost importance” and that the Colts would “proceed to educate our gamers, coaches and staff on the policies in online page and the critical consequences that will occur with violations.”
Rodgers, in an apology on his social media accounts, owned up to his transgressions, writing that he took “full accountability” and that he “let folk down that I care about.”
He said he had known for months that the suspension used to be coming — first hearing from his agent in slack February or early March that he used to be under investigation by the NFL — but he saved the tips to himself. His mother, Kelly O’Neal, said she discovered about the suspension in June from a report that aired on ESPN.
“I seen it coming across the underside of the display conceal,” O’Neal said. “My first thought used to be, ‘Was as soon as he OK?’ His future used to be so gleaming for him with the Colts, it used to be merely there, after which enhance.”
The NFL educates its gamers every year in myriad ways about the guidelines surrounding sports activities betting. Gamers are forbidden from betting on NFL games, now not allowed to visit sportsbooks for the length of the season and now not allowed to online page bets of any fashion whereas at a team facility or venue. There are tutorial movies despatched to golf equipment and in-person intervals to familiarize gamers with the league protection. No player can notify lack of knowledge of the guidelines.
“Or now not it’s our accountability to portion as mighty training as we are able to with as many folk as we are able to so as that there will not be any confusion as to what the guidelines are,” said Jeff Miller, the NFL’s govt vice president of communications.
Rodgers said he’d never gambled earlier than the 5-to-six-month length for the length of which he says he positioned extra than 100 bets for others and that, in many ways, the suspension has been “a blessing.”
He’s been in a online page to revel in Sundays as a “peculiar” soccer fan, gathering around loads of screens at his home to note NFL games with chums and family. He said he is been in a online page to use beyond regular time with his two 1-year-dilapidated children — daughter Maliyah and son Isaiah Jr.
“That is going to be the toughest part, especially with my son, with him having my exact identical name,” Rodgers said. “He also can merely Google his name for stress-free relish I historical to attain as a puny one and intellectual what I’ve been via, the negativity that contains me will pop up under his name.”
Rodgers also said he understands the inevitable questions that will come up when folk support in mind the explanations in the abet of his suspension — relish whether or now not he ever altered the atomize result of a sport because of the a gamble.
“I studied too now not easy and too long and worked too now not easy to even acquire to this online page to exit there and thunder, ‘I could non-public this guy get the ball and ranking a touchdown on me merely for $25, $50 bets.’ Nah, that is now not even the fashion of person I am.”
In August, the Philadelphia Eagles signed Rodgers and positioned him on the reserve/suspended listing. He also can merely now not be eligible to apply for reinstatement by the league except after the Huge Bowl.
Overcoming doubters and adversity has been central to Rodgers’ lifestyles and soccer skedaddle. In June 2013, his father, Craig Devon Rodgers, used to be shot and killed by a detective with the Bradenton, Florida, police division for the length of a difference following a domestic dispute and alleged kidnapping.
Rodgers left excessive college in 2016 weighing merely 140 kilos, but he changed into a starter at cornerback for the length of his freshman season at the College of Massachusetts.
He weighed merely 170 kilos when the Colts selected him with the 211th preserve in the 2020 NFL draft. His slouch as a nook and kick returner — Rodgers ran a 4.28 40-yard flee at his educated day — led the Colts to use a flier on him.
“I feel relish losing my dad in 2013 helped me be the person I am to this point,” Rodgers said. “I feel relish I’ve been via the worst of the worst.”
“Something relish this [the gambling suspension], if this took online page to yet any other person, they doubtlessly would proceed insane. But intellectual that I already been via the worst, in point of fact nothing can rupture me again.”