In perhaps the most infamous play in Cleveland Browns history, Bernie Kosar handed the ball off to Ernest Byner in the waning minutes of the team’s AFC Championship game against the Denver Broncos. Just steps from the end zone, Byner coughed up the football in a play known as “The Fumble.”
Thirty-five years later, Bernie Kosar is having to deal with a fumble of his own doing. The famous former Browns QB was let go from the team’s radio programming after he placed a $19,000 bet–the first bet made in Ohio–with Tipico Sportsbook.
The Ohio sports betting bet violated the league’s sports betting policy, the team said in a statement:
“Earlier this week, we notified Bernie that per league policy we were required to remove him from our pregame radio coverage for the season finale after he violated the NFL gambling policy by placing a bet on an NFL game.
We understand what Bernie means to his community and our history but as a team contracted personnel hired to provide content on our media platforms, his bet was a violation of NFL rules and we must adhere to all NFL policy.”
Kosar announced his firing on Twitter
Less than an hour before the Browns played the Pittsburgh Steelers in the team’s season finale, Kosar tweeted that the team ended his appearances on “Cleveland Browns Daily,” a weekly pregame show the team runs.
“Yet once again I was informed by the Browns that my services are no longer desired or needed,” Kosar tweeted. “I am shocked & disappointed. Brown & Orange is my life.”
The NFL’s gambling policy states that “all NFL Personnel are prohibited from placing, soliciting, or facilitating any bet, whether directly or indirectly through a third party, on any NFL game, practice or other event.”
Because Kosar was paid to be on a show run by an NFL franchise, he was considered an NFL personnel. And, consequently, his bet violated the policy, resulting in the team letting him go.
Responses to Kosar’s tweet were mixed. Some people took jabs at ownership for trying to railroad Kosar. Others said Kosar should’ve known the rules.
Kosar’s ties to Tipico led to his demise
Though Kosar’s tenure on the team’s pregame show is over, he’ll continue his podcast, The Bernie Kosar Show.
It’s worth noting that Tipico Sportsbook is a show sponsor. Kosar features weekly betting segments in which he and co-host Hanford Dixon discuss betting lines.
For example, Kosar recently offered his advice on how to bet the Detroit Lions-Green Bay Packers. It’s likely because of that sponsorship that Kosar made his ill-fated bet.
He discussed his bet during a segment on his show this past weekend. His show also tweeted that he bet $19,000 and, if he won, he’d donate the money to charity.
Kosar latest former player to get in hot water over sports betting
Just before Christmas, the NFL suspended New York Jets Wide Receivers Coach Miles Austin for wagering. Unlike Kosar, Austin bet on a non-NFL sport.
Austin was suspended for a minimum of one year but is appealing the decision.