Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell said he has taken a more proactive approach to educating players on the NFL’s gambling policy after at least four Lions were found to have violated league rules on betting.
“I think, for us, it’s much more an emphasis from us, as opposed to just leaving it to the league,” Campbell said Thursday. “Like, we need to make sure that we really hit this ourselves and make a point of it. And we did, but obviously not enough. I mean, the proof’s in the pudding. So, for us, man, let’s take it out of their hands. They’ll have what they do every year, but now we need to put our own emphasis on it. And I think that the best way to do it is to highlight it. And that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Lions receivers Jameson Williams and Stanley Berryhill were suspended six games in April for placing mobile bets on non-NFL games from an NFL facility, and receiver Quintez Cephus and safety C.J. Moore were suspended indefinitely for betting on football.
The Lions released Cephus and Moore immediately after their suspensions were announced April 21, and cut Berryhill last month.
Williams, who remains with the team, insisted last week he did not recall what he gambled on and did not fully understand the league’s gambling policy.
The NFL prohibits players from wagering on all NFL games and events, and forbids players from placing bets of any kind while at NFL stadiums, practice facilities, team hotels or while otherwise conducting league business.
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“It hit me out of the blue, and it hit a couple other players around the league and on my team out of the blue,” Williams said. “I wasn’t aware of this situation, but as it happened, like I said, I took it on the chin, I was ready to move forward as things moved on and I got the consequences, so that’s been my whole plan moving forward from things and just looking at the better days.”
The Athletic reported last week a fifth Lions player is part of a second wave of players being investigated for violating league gambling policy.
The site did not name the player, but said he was not a key contributor in 2022.
Asked about the ongoing investigation, Campbell said Thursday, “We don’t know all the details.”
“That’s in the league’s hand,” he said. “But my understanding is this is very much — they call it Wave 2, but it could be a Wave 1b. So I think this is very much in the same timeline. But I mean, look, we’ve made a point of it and that’s all we can do and it’s out of our hands.”
The NFL hosts a mandatory workshop for all 32 teams annually where players are reminded of league rules, including the gambling policy.
Campbell said last week he has “tried to hammer” the policy home with players this spring, reminding players of league rules immediately after the suspensions were announced and at least “two more times” since.
The NFL Players Association also sent a note to agents this spring reminding players not to open mobile betting apps while at team facilities, and the league’s gambling policy is posted inside every locker room in the league.
Lions safety Kerby Joseph, who wore a “Free Jamo” T-shirt after practice Thursday, said Campbell’s reminders, coupled with Williams’ suspension, have resonated with players this spring.
“Coach Campbell was talking to us about it, walking us through it, trying to get us to learn from it and grow from it,” Joseph said. “I just stay away from it.”
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