Falcons, head coach Arthur Smith receive fines for not disclosing star player’s illness before game

Falcons, head coach Arthur Smith receive fines for not disclosing star player’s illness before game


In the Atlanta Falcons‘ Week 7 game, eighth overall pick Bijan Robinson had just one touch.

Robinson had not carried any sort of injury designation all week, including in the hours leading up to the game, prompting fantasy football players to “safely” plug the star running back in their lineups, and gamblers to wager with what they thought was knowledge known to all.

However, the Falcons failed to report that Robinson had apparently fallen ill late Saturday night into Sunday morning.

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Bijan Robinson, #7 of the Atlanta Falcons, stands on the sidelines during the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on October 22, 2023, in Tampa, Florida.  (Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

Because of that, the Falcons were fined $75,000 on Friday, and head coach Arthur Smith was fined $25,000.

At the time, Smith had downplayed Robinson’s lack of usage.

“You’re talking about sensationalized things,” Smith told reporters. “I understand outrage, and drama sells. Guys, if you really understand how things really operate . . . there’s nothing there. So, I don’t know what, I haven’t given one second of thought about it.”

Now, Smith says it is a “lesson learned” after going through the investigative process.

Bijan Robinson takes handoff

Taylor Heinicke, #4 of the Atlanta Falcons, hands the ball off to Bijan Robinson, #7, in the game against the Arizona Cardinals during the third quarter at State Farm Stadium on November 12, 2023, in Glendale, Arizona. (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

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“Nothing was done to try to game anything like that, and I understood their point of view,” he said, via ESPN.

That weekend, DraftKings held a promotion in which bettors could wager Robinson, among three others, to score a touchdown in a parlay. Three of the four players scored; the one who did not was Robinson, resulting in a losing bet. 

However, the book said they would refund “all Bijan Robinson player prop markets,” including “parlay wagers where he was the only losing selection” as bonus bets.

Robinson’s one carry was for just three yards, resulting in 0.3 fantasy points, likely for a lot of losing teams.

Despite Robinson being all but out of the game, Atlanta beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a walk-off 51-yard field goal by Younghoe Koo.

Bijan Robinson scores

Atlanta Falcons running back Bijan Robinson (7) scores a touchdown in the second half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Atlanta, Sunday, October 8, 2023.  (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

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The Cincinnati Bengals were recently investigated by the NFL regarding Joe Burrow. A video of Burrow in a compression sleeve was deleted off the team’s social media, and then he suffered a season-ending wrist injury. But Cincy was cleared of any wrongdoing.

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