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Ex-NFL QB Bernie Kosar sues podcasting company over costly wager

CARA OWSLEY/THE ENQUIRER / USA TODAY NETWORK
                                Bernie Kosar, former quarterback for the Cleveland Browns at a town hall sponsored by East Palestine Justice, in March 2023, in Columbiana, Ohio. Kosar, who lost his job as a voice on the team’s pregame radio show last year after he violated NFL rules by placing a ceremonial wager on a sports betting app, is now suing a media company he alleged forced him to make that bet, according to court documents.
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CARA OWSLEY/THE ENQUIRER / USA TODAY NETWORK

Bernie Kosar, former quarterback for the Cleveland Browns at a town hall sponsored by East Palestine Justice, in March 2023, in Columbiana, Ohio. Kosar, who lost his job as a voice on the team’s pregame radio show last year after he violated NFL rules by placing a ceremonial wager on a sports betting app, is now suing a media company he alleged forced him to make that bet, according to court documents.

Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar, who lost his job as a voice on the team’s pregame radio show last year after he violated NFL rules by placing a ceremonial wager on a sports betting app, is now suing a media company he alleged forced him to make that bet, according to court documents.

Kosar filed a lawsuit in April against podcasting company BIGPLAY and co-manager Kendall Myles. Kosar is seeking damages in excess of $850,000 and roughly $25,000 in attorneys’ fees. Kosar alleged the company breached its contract with him and Myles “verbally assaulted” him and attempted to threaten him to get Kosar to agree to change the terms of his deal with BIGPLAY.

In the suit, filed in Cuyahoga County Court, Kosar alleged Myles and BIGPLAY co-manager David McAllester told Kosar at a charity event on Dec. 31, 2022, that he would have to personally place a $19,000 bet on the Cleveland Browns to win a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. As part of his contract with the podcasting company, Kosar was to complete a bet on the Tipico sports wagering app, which was a partner to BIGPLAY, according to the suit.

The suit also said Kosar’s contract “guaranteed that Mr. Kosar would ‘not be liable, nor responsible, for the amount of the wager nor will be entitled to any winnings that may occur as a result of the wager.’”

Per the NFL’s gambling policy, team employees are prohibited from betting on NFL games. Days after the event, the Browns fired Kosar.

“We look forward to the opportunity to defend our clients in court,” an attorney for Myles and BIGPLAY said in a statement. “Otherwise, our policy is not to comment further on pending litigation.”

Kosar listed other instances in the suit in which BIGPLAY failed to honor their agreement with him. According to the complaint, in addition to hosting the ‘Bernie Kosar Show,’ the former Browns QB was required to attend two promotional events per quarter, as part of his deal with the company.

He alleged that Myles “attempted to force” him to attend events during the NFL season, including some that took place on game days. Kosar alleged in the suit that he met with Myles to explain why his role with the Browns left him unavailable on game days and, during that meeting, Myles attempted to renegotiate the terms of their agreement.

He said he was later sent a proposal to amend the original contract, which he did not agree to. Shortly after, Kosar said he was verbally assaulted by Myles at an airport.

Kosar alleged Myles was “yelling at him so closely, he was spitting in his face, while threatening him” and that Myles told Kosar he “owned him” and threatened to hit him.

Kosar alleged Myles handed him a “Mutual Termination Agreement” and Kosar was told, days later, that if he did not sign the agreement he would be fired and potentially sued. Shortly after that exchange, Kosar said he received written notice of the termination of his agreement with BIGPLAY and that, at the time, the company owed him roughly $150,000.

An attorney from the law firm representing BIGPLAY and Myles called the claims of wrongdoing in Kosar’s complaint “false.”

“We look forward to the opportunity to defend our clients in court,” attorney Brian Nally said in a statement. “Otherwise, our policy is not to comment further on pending litigation.”

This article originally appeared in The Athletic.

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