NFL Suspends Five Players for Breaching League’s Sports Betting Policy
The NFL on Friday announced the indefinite suspensions of three players and six-game suspensions for two others. NFL officials said the suspensions are for violations of the league’s policy on gambling and sports betting.
Wide receiver Quintez Cephus, safety C.J. Moore of the Detroit Lions, and defensive end Shaka Toney of the Washington Commanders have been banned indefinitely from the NFL. The league said the trio is suspended “through at least the conclusion of the 2023 season for betting on NFL games in the 2022 season.”
Cephus, Moore, and Toney will remain prohibited from playing in the NFL until they petition the league for reinstatement after next season.
The NFL also announced suspensions for wide receivers Stanley Berryhill and Jameson Williams, who played for the Lions last season. Berryhill and Williams were slapped with six-game bans for betting on sports but not NFL games.
Berryhill and Williams cannot play in any games during the first six weeks of the 2023-24 NFL season but are allowed to participate in all off-season and preseason activities, including preseason games.
“The gambling policy, which is annually reviewed with all NFL personnel, including players, prohibits anyone in the NFL from engaging in any form of gambling in any club or league facility or venue, including the practice facility,” an NFL statement on the suspensions explained.
The NFL added that a league review produced no evidence that any of the five players used inside information or that any game was compromised.
The season-long suspensions for the three players who bet on NFL games are in line with the full-year suspension that WR Calvin Ridley received last year after he admitted to betting on NFL games. Ridley was successfully reinstated last month.
Online Betting Closely Monitored
Few industries know their customers more than legal online sportsbooks. The highly regulated casino gaming and sports betting industries work actively to keep close tabs on their mobile users to assure the person betting is who they say they are and that the customer is physically located within the legal jurisdiction.
The handful of NFL players who were suspended today by the league reportedly placed bets on their mobile devices.
The NFL investigation, aided by the sportsbooks, found that Williams and Berryhill placed non-NFL bets on their phones from the Lions’ Allen Park training facility. Michigan is home to both in-person and online sports betting.
Details surrounding the gambling policy infractions Cephus, Moore, and Toney committed weren’t immediately made available. But Lions team officials, who said they were made aware of the policy breaches about a month ago, have released Cephus and Moore from the team.
Cephus had only two receptions, and Moore played in just 11 games and made 12 tackles for Detroit last year. Washington team officials said they fully cooperated with the probe into Toney’s betting and support the league’s actions.
Jameson Williams is the highest-profile player of the bunch. The Lions traded up to get Williams during the 2022 NFL Draft, as Detroit selected the Alabama standout with the 12th overall pick. Williams appeared in six games last season but had only one reception, though it was a 41-yard touchdown catch.
Williams was expected to play a more significant role this year and become a prime target for QB Jared Goff. But now, Williams will not make his NFL season two debut until at least late October.
Jameson takes full responsibility for his actions and is very apologetic to the NFL, his teammates, and the fans and city of Detroit,” said Williams’ representation, Alliance Sports. “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 Alliance Sports statement concluded.
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