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Arm wrestling at MGM lands players in hot water with league

Updated April 10, 2017 - 11:05 pm

The NFL is investigating an arm wrestling event held at the MGM Grand that featured more than 30 current and former players.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Review-Journal on Sunday that the league just became aware of the inaugural Pro Football Arm Wrestling Championship that was filmed Friday and Saturday and will be looking into it further.

The competitors included Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison and retired running back Marshawn Lynch.

The NFL’s gambling policy prohibits players from appearing at casinos as part of promotional events, and those involved could now be facing discipline from the league.

The made-for-TV event, with heavyweight and lightweight titles in play, is scheduled to be broadcast on CBS on May 27 and 28, with the championship round shown June 3. A portion of the prize purses will be donated to charities of the players’ choice.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said the Oakland Raiders’ relocation to Las Vegas would not affect the league’s gambling policies. On March 27, NFL team owners voted 31-1 to approve the Raiders’ application to relocate to Las Vegas during the annual league meetings in Phoenix.

“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, NFL vice president of communications, told USA Today Sports, which first reported the league’s concern over the event. “No one sought pre-approval.”

Other notable participants included Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills, San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman, Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, Raiders punter Marquette King and defensive end Mario Edwards, and New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung.

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