The NFL announced on Friday that five players — Jameson Williams, Stanley Berryhill, Quintez Cephus, C.J. Moore, of the Detroit Lions and Shaka Toney of the Washington Commanders — were being suspended by the league for violations of the NFL’s gambling policy.
According to the league, Moore, Cephus, and Toney have been suspended for the entire 2023 NFL season. Williams and Berryhill are facing six-game suspensions.
In a statement, the league indicated that Moore, Cephus, and Toney can apply for reinstatement to the league at the conclusion of the 2023 season. The NFL also indicated that according to their investigation, no “inside information” was used by the players.
Thankfully for the Lions, and frankly for Jameson Williams, he’s only being suspended for six games because, apparently, he was not betting on NFL games. He was simply violating the league’s rule which prohibits players from betting on other sports leagues on team or league property (stadium, facility, team plane, etc.).
The official release from the NFL states that no game was compromised in accordance with these situations, which is obviously the primary concern and reason why players cannot bet on games.
It’s understandable to take the stance that the message the NFL is sending is a bit confusing. They are clearly promoting gambling these days in a wide variety of different ways. The ways in which players could get in trouble with this have become so readily available and popularized, so it’s certainly going to be difficult for players who enjoy this type of entertainment to completely stay away from it.
It’s also slightly confusing for the player that they are allowed to participate in this arena, just not with NFL games. They just have to be very careful about where they do it, but these guys a lot of times live at the facility, spending most days there. Again, it’s no justification, it’s just painting the picture of how something like this could happen.
According to the statement, Berryhill and Williams are “eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason activities, including preseason games.” Their six-game suspensions will take begin following the final roster cutdown day.
The Detroit Lions announced subsequent actions of their own on Friday, following the statement from the NFL, as team released both Moore and Cephus.
“As a result of an NFL investigation, it came to our attention that a few of our players had violated the league’s gambling policy,” declared Detroit Lions Executive Vice President and General Manager Brad Holmes in a statement from the organization. “These players exhibited decision making that is not consistent with our organizational values and violates league rules. We have made the decision to part ways with Quintez and C.J. immediately. We are disappointed by the decision making demonstrated by Stanley and Jameson and will work with both players to ensure they understand the severity of these violations and have clarity on the league rules moving forward.”
Williams and fellow Lions wide receiver Stanley Berryhill, meanwhile, were only suspended for six games. Williams’ agency, Alliance Sports, offered an explanation for why its client got a six-game ban and how Williams’ situation differed from Moore’s, Cephus’ and Toney’s.
“Alliance Sports confirms that its client, Jameson Williams, has been suspended by the NFL for six games for violating the NFL’s gambling policy,” Alliance Sports said in a statement. “Jameson takes full responsibility for his actions and is very apologetic to the NFL, his teammates and the fans and city of Detroit. However, it is important to note that Jameson’s violation was not for betting on football but rather due to a technical rule regarding the actual location in which the online bet was placed — and which would otherwise be allowed by the NFL outside of the club’s facility. Jameson would never intentionally jeopardize the integrity of the game he loves so much and looks forward to getting back to his team as soon as possible.”
The NFL’s policy prohibits players and personnel from gambling on NFL games or gambling from league facilities. The Lions said in their statement on Friday that Williams and Berryhill placed bets on non-NFL games from a team facility, leading to a six-game ban instead of a season-long one.
Williams was a top receiver prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft, and the Lions traded up to the No. 12 spot to select him. He did not make his NFL debut until Week 13 after recovering from a torn ACL suffered while playing for Alabama in the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
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