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Tennessee Titans right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere is suspended six games in 2023 for violating the league’s gambling policy. The 23-year-old was included in the recent wave of suspensions that came as result of the NFL’s crackdown on gambling.
Petit-Frere acknowledged his wrongdoing, but said that he did not place bets on his own sport and only violated the policy because he didn’t know the rules. He took responsibility, but placed blame on a lack of understanding.
The betting I engaged in was NOT NFL related and was legal under Tennessee law. It is only being sanctioned because it occurred at the Titans facility.
I want to apologize to my family, coaches, teammates and the Titans fans. I’ve always strived in every stage of my life to follow the rules. I did not knowingly break the rules. Even after attending a league presentation, I was unaware about the specifics around placing bets from a team facility.— Nicholas Petit-Frere, via Adam Schefter
Titans head coach Mike Vrabel holds his players to a high standard. The 47-year-old, cut from the Bill Belichick cloth, expects that his guys will not do anything dumb to jeopardize themselves or the organization. It is something that he preaches often.
Vrabel’s emphasis on stupidity is what made Petit-Frere’s suspension so surprising. Of all of the players on all of the teams in the NFL, he was among the least-likely to do something that ended in suspension. And it sure seems like the suspension was a result of the unknown.
Petit-Frere’s reasoning for the suspension also correlates with his older comments. In some ways, he foreshadowed his own issues.
Nicholas Petit-Frere doesn’t understand the rules.
Nick Suss of The Tennesseean spoke with Petit-Frere about gambling in May. The latter voiced a lot of frustration with the league’s gambling policies and an insufficient explanation of the rules.
I’ll be honest with you, there wasn’t really a lot of teaching from the NFL. I was actually one of the people who asked the most questions when it came to Fantasy Football and things like that. I just wanted to make sure I learned as much as I could— Nicholas Petit-Frere, via Nick Suss
Petit-Frere also spoke to the suspensions that came down earlier in the offseason.
When we heard about those suspensions and things like that, I’ll be honest, a lot of the guys felt like there just wasn’t a lot of teaching in general about this offense. I just feel like that’s something the NFL should kind of harbor a little bit more and understand these guys are making mistakes that they didn’t even know was a thing […]
It’s tough. None of us ever want to do anything that jeopardizes the shield, that jeopardizes the NFL.— Nicholas Petit-Frere, via Nick Suss
Now, there is the possibility that Petit-Frere knew of an ongoing investigation at the time of his interview with Suss. He may have been getting out ahead of the news, in a sense.
However, Petit-Frere was suspended more than a month later. It sounds like he was speaking toward a larger issue, and spoke the suspension into existence.
Regardless of how things played out, Petit-Frere’s concerns are shared across the league. Players want to know exactly what they can and cannot do before they ended up suspended, like the Titans tackle.