Sports betting apps are shown on a smart phone. Syndication: The Indianapolis Star

Wednesday’s announcement that the NBA was banning Toronto Raptors center Jontay Porter for disclosing confidential information to bettors and betting on Raptors games was firm and sent a strong message to everyone else around the league.

It was also an incredibly easy decision to make.

At a time when the NBA and its media partners are getting into bed with sports betting companies and normalizing betting on games, the league finds itself in need of concrete boundaries, red lines, and effective punishments for anyone who might consider doing what Porter did.

In many ways, Porter did the league a favor. This kind of betting scandal was inevitable given the modern state of sports media and business. The gambling and sports world aren’t getting cozy behind closed doors, they’re flaunting how much they love one another in public. The PDA is off the charts. The enticement for players, coaches, and league officials to get in on the action has never been higher and more likely.

And here comes Jontay Porter. An unheralded, undrafted player who has spent the last four years bouncing between the NBA and the G League. Hardly a name that NBA fans were familiar with, let alone a household name.

The kind of NBA player no one will miss. The kind of NBA player whose absence bothers no one. The kind of NBA player whose only claim to fame is the scandal he currently finds himself in. Porter gets to become a boogeyman, a scary story that basketball players can tell one another when one of them fires up the betting app on their phone.

If an NBA player was going to do what he did, Porter was the absolute best-case scenario for the NBA.

The question, however, is what do they do next time when the NBA player in question is someone with name recognition? Or worse, one of the best players in the league?

The precedent has indeed been set, so the literal answer is easy. But that’s not the point. There are implications beyond precedent when it’s not Jontay Porter at the center of the storm but Devin Booker. Or Paul George. Or Lauri Markkanen. Or, god forbid, Victor Wembanyama.

Major League Baseball can tell you all about the dilemma these situations put you in. They still have the stink of Pete Rose wafting off them. They’re currently wading through the Shohei Ohtani situation with kid gloves, attempting to extricate the biggest star they’ve had in decades from a gambling scandal that seemed, for a few seconds at least, like it might upend his entire career.

The NBA wants nothing to do with that, naturally. Hence the lifetime ban and the swift decision. But they would be naive to assume that will shut the door on future situations like this one. Human nature is what it is, especially when people have access to gobs of money and the potential to dictate where it flows. It truly is only a matter of time before we’re back here.

And if the next time the name of the player doing the betting is well-known to your parents and league sponsors, the calculus might be a little different.

Would that be enough to give the league and its media partners pause over the ways they’ve let sports betting infiltrate their locker rooms and arenas? Probably not. But the pain it brings them from a PR and reputation perspective will leave a mark. As will the time after that. And the one that follows that.

For now, the NBA gets to pat itself on the back and show how seriously they take all of this. The real test is still waiting for them, when a guy they put on billboards and magazine covers gets in over his head on the gambling apps.

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to