Santonio Homes is among 25 current and former NFL players being investigated by the league for reportedly investing in a shady Alabama casino.
The casino – Country Crossing – has closed because it was at the center of a probe that has resulted in nine people going to trial accused of buying and selling votes on pro-gambling legislation, including four former or current state senators. But the players may have run afoul of NFL rules that bar employees from involvement with any gaming operation.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed the league’s investigation on Friday, a day after the involvement of the players was first reported by Yahoo! Sports. Players violating NFL rules regarding gaming operations could be subject to fines or suspensions and have to give up their investment.
Besides Holmes, a Jets receiver who will be a free agent when the lockout ends, other players named in the report include Terrell Owens, Santana Moss, Gerard Warren and Adalius Thomas as well as former NFL players Cornelius Griffin and Jevon Kearse. The initial report said boxer Floyd Mayweather was an early investor who is trying to get his money back.
Neither Holmes not his representatives could be reached for comment. The Associated Press reports that representatives for the casino and the named players either did not immediately respond to phone calls or emails or had no immediate comment.
Country Crossing owner Ronnie Gilley and two of his lobbyists have pleaded guilty to offering legislators millions in bribes.
Mark Culver, chairman of the Houston County (Ala.) Commission, said he didn't have information about specific NFL players investing but that there had been discussions about a group making a collective investment.
"We wouldn't have intimate knowledge of who has and who hasn't invested," Culver said. "But from early on in the project professional athletes were talked about, so it would not surprise me that athletes had been invested in the project."