Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar has taken legal action against digital media company BIGPLAY following his dismissal as a pregame radio host due to a betting incident, post-Ohio’s legalization of gambling.

Allegations and legal claims:

Court documents reveal that Kosar, a beloved figure in Cleveland, is seeking $850,000 in damages from BIGPLAY and its CEO Kendall Myles for breach of contract. Kosar alleges that his firing was unjustified and that Myles verbally harassed him, leading to significant personal and financial repercussions.

According to the Associated Press (AP), in his lawsuit filed on April 4, Kosar contends that BIGPLAY required him to place a ceremonial bet of $19,000 on a Cleveland Browns game against the Pittsburgh Steelers as part of his contractual obligations. Despite assurances in his contract that he wouldn’t be liable for the wager or entitled to any winnings, the Browns terminated Kosar, citing the NFL’s strict gambling policies.

The fallout extended beyond his role with BIGPLAY, as Kosar claims to have lost a $200,000 personal services contract with the Browns due to the gambling controversy. Kosar, who had a storied career with the Browns and a subsequent Super Bowl win with the Dallas Cowboys, has maintained various roles with the team since retiring in 1996.

Legal battle and responses:

The lawsuit includes allegations of contractual breaches and verbal abuse by Myles, which BIGPLAY has refuted through legal representation. The complexity of Kosar’s situation underscores the challenges posed by differing employer policies in the era of legalized sports betting.

The NFL strictly prohibits its employees from participating in gambling activities, posing a conflict for Kosar who was obligated by BIGPLAY to place the bet. Despite contractual provisions safeguarding him from financial liability or winnings, the league’s stance on gambling ultimately led to his dismissal from Browns’ broadcasts.

Kosar’s lawsuit highlights the broader implications of legalized sports betting on professional sports and individual careers. It underscores the need for clarity in contractual agreements and awareness of potential conflicts between employer policies in the evolving landscape of sports gambling.

NBC Sports reports that, as legal proceedings unfold, Kosar’s case serves as a critical example of the legal and ethical challenges emerging from the intersection of personal endorsements, contractual obligations, and professional sports policies. The outcome could influence future contractual negotiations and employer guidelines in similar scenarios.

Bernie Kosar’s lawsuit against BIGPLAY reflects a significant legal battle over the repercussions of sports betting in professional sports. With implications for both personal contracts and league policies, the case underscores the complexities and consequences of navigating the evolving landscape of sports gambling regulations.