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Could The NFL Be Corrupted By A Team In Las Vegas?


As the fate of an NFL team and football stadium in Las Vegas remains unknown, the idea of professional sports, especially America’s most popular sport, in Nevada isn’t an easy one for everyone to swallow.

We’re the gambling capital of the world. And somewhere it’s believed that by osmosis, sport becomes corrupted if it’s located here.

Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL, made that clear in comments leading up to this year's Super Bowl.

During a radio interview before the big game, Goodell said, "one thing we can't ever do is compromise the game."

Mike Pritchard played nine years as a wide receiver in the NFL. Today he co-hosts a sports talk show on ESPN in Las Vegas.

Pritchard told KNPR's State of Nevada that the issue of gambling is about "perception" not just the perception of the NFL about gambling but the perception that the game could be influenced by bettors.

Pritchard said Goodell will do whatever he needs to to protect the integrity of the game.

“If there is a franchise that is going to be in Las Vegas, he just wants to make sure that the public understands that they did everything that they could do to make sure the game was going to stay clean," he said.

Pritchard said when entered the NFL in the 90s, before they even had a team meeting about how they were going to have a winning season, the rookies were lectured about the potential dangers of gambling.

However, with the amount of money players make, Pritchard is doubtful they would give up their paychecks to make sports bettors happy.

Pritchard believes Las Vegas could be the best team to host a football team because of the high degree of gambling regulation here.

"If you do want to align yourself with any gambling entity or body, certainly governing body, do it from the professionals," he said, "Do it from Las Vegas. Do it from Nevada state gaming board where you can regulate certain activity.”

He also believes that, as ratings for the NFL were down during the 2016-17 season, a move to Las Vegas might be boost the league's popularity because it's a global city that brings in people from around the world. 

Mike Pritchard, former NFL player/host on Las Vegas ESPN radio

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.