The Poker Reporter Blog

NFL Snubs Deaf Children Worldwide

Created By: Matthew Showell
22 February 2011
Posted in: The Poker Reporter Blog, Cold Hard Facts
nfl football browns ravens

This past weekend the Golden Nugget in Vegas hosted a big charity poker tournament to benefit the Starkey Hearing Foundation. The Starkey Foundation raises money to provide free hearing aids to children all over the world.

25 NFL stars were slated to play but were forced to pull out at the last minute when the NFL stepped in and forbade them from participating in this philanthropic evening of poker.

With a $2,000 buy-in and $500 re-buys, the NFL's decision denied hearing-impaired children of at least $50,000. We're not sure about the price of hearing aids but that sounds like a lot of kids who will be unable to improve their quality of life.

Let's look at the reasons for what, surficially at least, appears to be an incredibly callous decision by the NFL.

The NFL isn't exactly a supporter of poker. When Barney Frank and Jim McDermott first began forming legislation that would regulate and tax online gambling, they included poker and sports betting.

The NFL pulled out all the stops to get sports betting removed from those plans and through a concerted effort by their lobbyists they did just that.

To the NFL poker represents a time and money-consuming activity that has a serious demographic conflict with football fans. The NFL would prefer that instead of playing poker, males age 21-40 spend their time, and money, on something football related.

But this isn't the reason the NFL stepped in and stopped their players from taking part in the charity poker tournament this weekend.

It's well known that NFL players are subject to extreme restrictions as far as what they're allowed to do with themselves, especially when it can be construed that they're representing the NFL brand.

Gambling definitely falls into that category and when the promotional material around something like a charity poker tournament is full of "NFL player" this and "Football star" that, the NFL is quick to step in.

We can only assume that this was the reason for their decision, not that they have anything against cute deaf children in Africa struggling in vain to hear the lion quietly approaching through the grass.

But seriously, charity poker to benefit deaf children? It's not hard to see why giant corporations like the NFL get a bad rap.

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PokerPimp 2011-02-23 20:34:17

hahahaha, that African kid's a goner. all thanks to the NFL 2011-02-23 19:21:41


The idea is that people who are playing fantasy football are watching all the games, ordering the satellite packages, buying the merch, going to the live games, etc etc etc.

The NFL sees it as a major driving force in their fan machine and poker is an alternative for those people.

John G 2011-02-23 19:20:07

Yeah this is confusing to me. Fantasy Football leagues are run by people other than the NFL no? Why does the NFL care so much about poker biting into FF?

Afrika Bambaataa 2011-02-23 12:15:19

wow. struggling to hear the lion approaching. bold imagery.

Riverdale 2011-02-23 12:07:08

The NFL has continued to lobby against online poker even after getting sports betting removed from any legislation. They continue to make money from their sanctioning of "fantasy" football leagues, however, so it isn't as if they're against gambling.