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Adam Silver: Raptors’ Jontay Porter could face permanent ban

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Wednesday afternoon that Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter, who is under investigation by the league following multiple instances of betting irregularities over the past several months, could be banned permanently if what he’s accused of is true, calling it a “cardinal sin.”

“I have an enormous range of discipline available to me,” Silver said at a midtown Manhattan hotel, after the league’s annual board of governors meetings. “But it’s a cardinal sin, what he’s accused of in the NBA, and the ultimate, extreme option I have is to ban him from the game.

“That’s the level of authority I have here. Because there’s nothing more serious, I think, around this league when it comes to gambling: betting on our games. And that is a direct player involvement. And so, the investigation is ongoing, but the consequences could be very severe.”

Suspicions arose from prop bets involving Porter for games on Jan. 26 and March 20 in a story first reported by ESPN on March 25. Porter prop bets from those dates wound up being the biggest moneymakers for each of them, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

The NBA has had its own brushes with betting scandals in the past — namely the one involving former referee Tim Donaghy in 2007 — but the topic has exploded into the forefront of people’s thinking as sports betting has been legalized in various states across the country over the past several years.

Silver said that he wishes a federal framework governing sports betting existed rather than the patchwork state-by-state approach that exists and that the NBA prefers it to be out in the open so that if irregularities like this come up, they are more easily discovered.

But he also admitted that with how deep the relationships have grown among the NBA, other professional leagues, media and gambling companies, this could lead to a potential rethink of how those relationships look moving forward.

“At the end of the day, there’s nothing more important than the integrity of the competition,” Silver said. “And so, any issue raised around that is of great concern to me and to all commissioners, to all people who are safeguards, who are all people who are in a position and have a responsibility to safeguard the game. Again, this is a burgeoning industry in the United States. It’s been legal in other places in the world for decades. There’s lessons to be learned from the way that sports betting is monitored and regulated in other jurisdictions.

“And again, I think as these unfortunate examples come along, we may have to adjust our rules and our partner gaming companies and those companies that aren’t our partners may have to adjust their behavior as well.”

Rest is here.


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