The NFL has suspended five players for violating the league’s gambling policy, including Detroit Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams.
Detroit receiver Quintez Cephus and safety C.J. Moore have been suspended indefinitely, as has Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney. All three were found to have bet on NFL games last year. Although they can reapply for reinstatement like Calvin Ridley did now as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit has already released both Cephus and Moore in this.
As for Williams and wide receiver teammate Stanley Berryhill, they have each received six-game suspensions. This is because they did not bet on the NFL, but did place bets on mobile devices at the Lions’ team facility in Allen Park. The thought is they wagered on college games, which is fine, but you cannot do it on the premise of an NFL facility or inside a venue that hosts college games.
Betting on the NFL is one thing, but there is some level of hypocrisy here within the league itself.
Detroit released a statement about the NFL’s investigation into their four players for gambling.
“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,” said Lions general manager Brad Holmes in a statement. “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.”
Here is what Washington released following the investigation into Toney’s gambling exploits.
“We have cooperated fully with the NFL’s investigation since receiving notice and support the league’s findings and actions,” said the team in a statement. “All further questions on the topic should be directed to the NFL League Office.”
Obviously there is so much to unpack here, but we are going to try to make sense of all this mess.
5 players suspended for gambling, including Detroit Lions WR Jameson Williams
The good news for Berryhill and Williams is they can participate in offseason activities, training camp and the preseason as members of the Lions. They just cannot suit up for Detroit until Week 7. With Williams a little more removed from tearing his ACL in the national title bout vs. Georgia during his one year at Alabama, maybe these six weeks will help him play even more explosively?
While I have no issues with the NFL being so strict about players wagering on and potentially compromising their product, there is some grey area with the college game and other sports. I totally understand the issues with gambling at your place of work, but if Berryhill and Williams want to watch the MAC Championship in person at Ford Field and place a wager, then why not?
There are other franchises in the league where not only bowl games are played at regularly, but are also home to MLS franchises. Players like Berryhill and Williams may earn their paychecks at Ford Field, but if other people are allowed to bet on the Buffalo Bulls vs. the Toledo Rockets in a neutral-site affair while enjoying a beer and a Hot and Ready, then why treat them any differently?
Of course, I am all in favor of the shield figuring out how to make an increasingly important part of their business work. Like NIL in college, we will run into bumps along the road as we collectively get our minds around the new eras of compensation and wagering in sports. Eventually, let’s get it right. Make it a priority. That’s all I and anyone will ask, but let’s chill out on the double standards.
This is a rough day for the Lions, but hey, Detroit is in its best spot as a franchise in decades now.