Masai Ujiri reacts as NBA bans his player Jontay Porter for life for violating league’s gambling rules

Francis Akhalbey April 18, 2024
The NBA has banned Toronto Raptors player Jontay Porter for allegedly violating the league's gambling rules -- Photo Credit: Markus Spiske

The NBA on Wednesday announced it has banned Toronto Raptors player Jontay Porter after an investigation determined he violated the league’s gambling rules by “disclosing confidential information to sports bettors, limiting his own participation in one or more games for betting purposes, and betting on NBA games.”

According to NBC News, Porter’s professional career has seen him mostly play in the NBA’s developmental G League. The 24-year-old is also the brother of Denver Nuggets star Michael Porter Jr.

The two-way player featured in 26 games for the Toronto Raptors this season and averaged 4.4 points and 3.2 rebounds. He also played 11 games for the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2020-2021 season. 

The NBA in its statement cited instances where Porter allegedly violated its gambling rules. The league said that before a Raptors game on March 20, Porter shared “confidential information about his own personal health status to an individual he knew to be an NBA bettor.”

“Another individual with whom Porter associated and knew to be an NBA bettor subsequently placed an $80,000 parlay proposition bet with an online sports book, to win $1.1 million, wagering that Porter would underperform in the March 20 game,” the statement said.

The league also said Porter allegedly limited his own playing time “to influence the outcome of one or more bets on his performance in at least one Raptors game.” The statement said the 6-foot-10 power forward and center in the March 20 game played for only three minutes after claiming he was unwell. 

“Due to the unusual betting activity and actions of the player, the $80,000 proposition bet was frozen and was not paid out,” the statement said.

The league said that Porter through March 2024 placed at least 13 bets while he was on the road with the Raptors or the franchise’s NBA G League affiliate Raptors 905. The statement said Porter placed those bets through an associate’s online betting account. 

“These bets ranged in size from $15 to $22,000, for a total of $54,094. The total payout from these bets was $76,059, resulting in net winnings of $21,965,” the statement said. “None of the bets involved any game in which Porter played. Three of the bets were multi-game parlay bets that included one Raptors game, in which Porter bet that the Raptors would lose. All three bets lost.”

“The suspicious bets involving Porter’s performance in the Raptors’ March 20 game were brought to the NBA’s attention by licensed sports betting operators and an organization that monitors legal betting markets,” the statement added.

In 1954, Jack Molinas of the Fort Wayne Pistons was similarly banned for allegedly placing bets on games, NBC News reported. It is believed that Porter is the first NBA player to receive a lifetime ban since Molinas received a punishment of such nature.

“There is nothing more important than protecting the integrity of NBA competition for our fans, our teams and everyone associated with our sport, which is why Jontay Porter’s blatant violations of our gaming rules are being met with the most severe punishment,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said.

“While legal sports betting creates transparency that helps identify suspicious or abnormal activity, this matter also raises important issues about the sufficiency of the regulatory framework currently in place, including the types of bets offered on our games and players. Working closely with all relevant stakeholders across the industry, we will continue to work diligently to safeguard our league and game.”

Raptors president Masai Ujiri also said Wednesday’s announcement caught everyone off-guard. “You don’t want this for the kid, you don’t want this for our team, and we don’t want this for our league, that’s for sure,” Ujiri said. “My first reaction is obviously surprise, because none of us, I don’t think anybody, saw this coming.”

The National Basketball Players Association in a statement said it “will make sure Jontay has access to the resources he needs during this time, in light of the NBA’s decision.” 

“All players, including Jontay, should be afforded appropriate due process and opportunity to answer to any charges brought against them.”

The association in its statement, however, stressed that “adherence to league gambling policies is paramount to maintaining the integrity of our athletes and protecting the future of the sport.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: April 18, 2024


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