NFL has no comment on whether it’s investigating Mecole Hardman allegations

The week of the Scouting Combine brought an unlikely development. It speaks to a broader issue about which the NFL should be very concerned.

A report emerged that the Jets believe former receiver Mecole Hardman leaked specifics regarding the game plan prior to games against the Chiefs and the Eagles. Hardman, both directly and through his agent, denies it.

While we don’t know what happened, multiple sources tell PFT that the Jets definitely suspect something. And it wouldn’t take many phone calls from the league office to the Jets (or the Eagles) in order to determine whether the bone carries any meat.

In response to an email from PFT, the NFL declined comment earlier this week as to the question of whether it will investigate the situation. It should. Even without any suggestion that Hardman shared inside information for gambling purposes, the NFL’s gambling policy contains a broad prohibition against the dissemination of any and all inside information.

From the NFL’s 2023 gambling policy: “You must not share or provide access to confidential, non-public information regarding any NFL game or event, including but not limited to: (a) a participant’s availability for or performance in an NFL game or event; or (b) personnel-related decisions regarding an official, player, coach, team manager, or League or Club executive, including team rosters, player contract status, and game working assignments with any third-party that does not have a need or right to know such information (e.g., a player may notify his personal physician, family member and agent about his own condition). As further provided in Section 10 of this Policy, you must report any request for, disclosure of, or possible sharing of such information.”

In other words, it doesn’t matter whether Hardman did it for gambling purposes or for other reasons. Sharing “confidential, non-public information regarding any NFL game or event” in any way is forbidden under the gambling policy.

The punishment for sharing inside information? An indefinite suspension of at least one year.

So, yes, the NFL should investigate this. Maybe it is. The league won’t say. The Hardman situation might be the tip of an iceberg, one that could potentially sink the S.S. Big Shield if the situation isn’t taken seriously.

When it comes to the disclosure of inside information, at times it seems as if the NFL isn’t taking the situation nearly seriously enough. It definitely should. The allegations against Hardman should be regarded not as a curiosity but a wake-up call.

There is plenty of inside information available to plenty of people on each of the 32 teams. What is the league really doing to protect that information?

The bigger question is this. What can it do?


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