Four Lions players among five suspended in NFL gambling probe

Receiver Jameson Williams, the Alabama speedster drafted in Round 1 by the Lions last year, and teammate Stanley Berryhill were each suspended six games.

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Lions receiver Jameson Williams runs the ball against the Bears.

Lions receiver Jameson Williams was suspended six games for betting inside an NFL facility on non-NFL games.

Nic Antaya/Getty Images

The NFL suspended four Lions — including their first-round pick from last year — and one Commanders player as part of a wide-ranging gambling crackdown.

The Lions’ Quintez Cephus and C.J. Moore, along with the Commanders’ Shaka Toney, were suspended through at least the end of the 2023 season for betting on NFL games last year, the league said Friday. Their return is subject to petition.

The Lions immediately cut Cephus and Moore.

Receiver Jameson Williams, the Alabama speedster drafted in Round 1 by the Lions last year, and teammate Stanley Berryhill were each suspended six games for betting inside an NFL facility on non-NFL games. They can practice in the offseason and preseason, and are eligible to play in preseason games.

Williams played in six games last season after returning from a torn ACL suffered at the end of his college career, catching only one pass for 41 yards and, against the Bears, running once for 40 yards. He’s considered an integral part of the Lions’ future.

Lions executive vice president and general manager Brad Holmes said in a statement that the players “exhibited decision making that is not consistent with our organizational values and violates league rules.”

The NFL’s gambling policy prohibits anyone in the NFL — including players, coaches and staffers — from gambling in any practice facility or league venue. The league claimed Friday that it found no inside information was used in any of the players’ bets.

Gambling incidents have been relatively rare for the NFL. Most recently, wide receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended for the entire 2022 season for gambling on NFL games; he was later traded from Atlanta to Jacksonville and was reinstated. In November 2019, Arizona Cardinals cornerback Josh Shaw was suspended for gambling on an NFL game; he has played in the league since.

With the rise of sports betting across the U.S., some pro teams have a sportsbook in their stadiums — like the Washington Nationals (MLB) and the Phoenix Suns (NBA) as well as the NHL’s Washington Capitals. Others, like the Arizona Cardinals, have a sportsbook on the grounds of the stadium and many fans bet on their phones while attending games. Sports betting ads also permeate breaks during NFL games.

The NFL, along with other pro leagues, this week formed the Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising, a group described as a voluntary alliance to control how consumers see advertising and to rein in “excessive” advertising.

Contributing: Associated Press

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