The National Football League (NFL) has suspended five professional players for placing bets from an NFL facility, thus violating the league’s gambling policies strictly prohibiting any form of gambling inside NFL premises.
The NFL has suspended Detroit Lions receivers Jameson Williams, Quintez Cephus, Stanley Berryhill, C.J. Moore, and Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney.
Strict Gambling Policy:
Since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) initiated legalized sports betting in 2018, the NFL has followed the re-established act requirements to implement a stringent gambling policy and ensure the league’s full compliance with the said requirements.
NFL’s official policy prohibits betting on sporting events or any other athletic competitions for NFL personnel. Wagers placed at sportsbooks and similar establishments are particularly prohibited to occur inside the NFL facilities.
Breach Led to Player Suspensions:
NFL announced on Friday that four Lions receivers and the Commanders’ defense end have violated both of these rules. Williams and Berryhill have been penalized with six-game suspensions for breaching the league’s wagering policy. Cephus, Moore, and Toney received suspensions for an indefinite period of time for betting on NFL games but were left with the option to apply for reinstatement after the end of this season.
A Blow for Lions:
NFL also reports that the Lions explained that Williams and Berryhill’s suspensions resulted from placing bets from an NFL facility on non-NFL games. The source transferred the Williams agent’s statement that the player’s violation was not for betting on football but rather of technical nature.
The agent reportedly claimed that the actual location inside the club’s facility in which the online bet was placed was the reason for the suspension, indicating that NFL would otherwise allow the activity outside the NFL facility.
Williams’ suspension is the most significant blow to the Lions. However, both Williams and Berryhill can take part in off-season and preseason activities and start playing next season. On the other hand, the Lions reportedly released Cephus and Moore following their suspensions.
According to the source, Washington Commanders have also been made aware of the suspension of Shaka Toney, their seventh-round pick in 2021. The club has reportedly cooperated with the NFL’s investigation since the receipt of the breach notice in support of the league’s actions.
This is the second case of gambling breach within the NFL since the enforcement of PASPA. Last year, wide receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended indefinitely for the entire 2022 season for gambling on NFL games and was later traded from Atlanta Falcons to Jacksonville Jaguars and reinstated the following year.
This time, a similar scenario may be seen for the Lions and Commanders players in breach whereas the impact of their absence from the field is yet to be seen in the forthcoming period.