49ers star linebacker NaVorro Bowman was one of 32 current and former NFL players that participated in the Pro Football Arm Wrestling Championship at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas over the weekend.
The prize money for the event, also attended by James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Marshawn Lynch, will be donated to a charity of the winning players’ choice through the Giving Back Fund, and is slated to be televised by CBS in May and June. It also may be costing the players in question a chunk of money out of their own pocket.
The NFL is claiming that they were not notified, nor approved, the players’ participation in the event, and that it violates the league’s gambling policy. Bowman and others could be fined for their involvement.
“Had we been asked in advance if this was acceptable, we would have indicated that it was in direct violation of the gambling policy,” Joe Lockhart, the NFL’s executive vice president for communications and public affairs, told USA Today. “No one sought pre-approval.”
The league’s gambling policy states that NFL players are not allowed to participate a promotional events at casinos. Two years ago, the NFL forced the cancellation of a fantasy football event that was to be hosted by Tony Romo at The Venetian in Las Vegas. The NFL told ESPN that it will be looking into the event.