Most Common Reasons for Players and Coaches to be suspended from Games

The list of reasons why the various NFL players have been suspended from games of the years is endless.  Dating all the way back to 1947, there have been suspensions due to match fixing to DUI.  The lengths of the imposed bans can also vary significantly, with some players only getting banned for one match, and some getting banned for an entire season!


One of the problems which affect NFL players and ultimately leads to them becoming banned from matches is gambling.  This can be through betting on matches, gambling in casinos .One of the suspended players recently admitted to his gambling addiction, and told how he struggles to refrain from playing games online.  He went on to tell about his interest in playing online bingo games, in particular the social bingo games hosted on Facebook.  He was quoted saying the following: –

"I hate to admit but I have an addiction. I play bingo on Facebook for fun, but of course for the money too. It's just that these bingo sites send you loads of emails to come and play and I can't help it. I know it sounds ridiculous but that's my addiction. I’m really sorry that it causes me to be suspended from games.”


Alex Karras was another player to miss out on a big chunk of his career due to a gambling suspension.  After being discovered betting on NFL games, he was made to miss the entire 1963 season.  Paul Hornung, of the Green Bay Packers, was also linked to this incident.  He was apparently involved with Karras in gambling on matches and was also suspended from the whole of the 1963 season.

Arthur Schlichter was one of the most well-known players for his compulsive gambling and the legal issues which arose because of it.  The quarterback gambled away the majority of his Arena League, NFL and radio salaries.  He got so far into addiction that he would steal from friends and strangers to fund his habit and play at casinos.  Gambling was a cause for destruction in Schlichter’s life.  His house got raided, he lost his friends and wife and ended up with nothing.  He has since been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for being involved in a million-dollar ticket scam.


Another thing which seems to cause problems for a lot of highly-paid sports players is drug use.  With a seemingly unlimited supply of money, it is easy for them to fall into routine taking of drugs, while serious problems develop.  Stanley Wilson was one of the worst affected by it and was suspended/banned on multiple occasions throughout his career.  The first instance was in 1985, when he was forced to stay on the side lines for an entire season. He obviously did not learn anything from the first occasion, and got banned again in 1987 on the same account.   When this happened for the third time in 1989, he was suspended from NFL for life.

As well as players getting suspended for taking illegal drugs, there are far more cases of players getting banned for using performance-enhancing substances, which are legal but the use is banned for NFL players.  Many players have been suspended for this reason over the years and the period of suspension is generally between one and eight games.

Prior to 2006, there were very few players pulled up for taking banned substances.  However, this all changed in 2006, when Roger Goodell stepped up as Commissioner of the NFL.  Since this pivotal point, over 60 players have been suspended from playing in the National football league for possession or consumption of performance-enhancing drugs.  One particularly policy came into force after pro bowler Shawne Merriman’s suspension, which led to the creation of the ‘Merriman Rule’.  This rule meant that any players who had tested positive to a performance-enhancing drug would not be allowed to play in the Pro Bowl. This has certainly had a significant effect on players reluctance to follow the rules and has led to a substantial drop in the amount of performance enhancing drugs used in the game.


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