NFL suspends 5 players for alleged violations of gambling policy


The NFL hit four Detroit Lions and one Washington Commander with heavy suspensions for allegedly violating league gambling policy, officials said Friday.

Wide receiver Quintez Cephus and safety C.J. Moore of the Lions, and defensive end Shaka Toney of the Commanders were “suspended indefinitely through at least the conclusion of the 2023 season for betting on NFL games in the 2022 season,” according to a league statement.

Lions WRs Stanley Berryhill and Jamerson Williams were each banned from the first six games of this upcoming season, though they can still participate in preseason activities with their team, the league said.

The Lions cut ties with Cephus and Moore in wake of the suspensions.

“These players exhibited decision making that is not consistent with our organizational values and violates league rules,” Lions GM Brad Holmes said in a statement.

“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.”

A representative for the players’ union, the NFLPA, declined comment on Friday.

While the league was short on details, it insisted no games were compromised by the players’ alleged wagering.

“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,” according to the league.

“A league review uncovered no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way.”

Attorney I. Nelson Rose, who specialized in gambling law, scoffed at the NFL statement that players didn’t employ any inside knowledge in making bets.

“How does the league know that?” said Rose, professor emeritus at Whittier College. “I mean, they watch the games, they talk to each other, they know each other. Of course they hear things.”

Gambling, once completely verboten in NFL circles, has exploded into mainstream acceptance after the Supreme Court in 2018 struck down a federal law that required states to ban gambling on sports.

NFL games are now packed with ads for gambling websites as wagering on sports is now legal in one form or another in 33 states and the District of Columbia.

This once unthinkable marriage between the NFL and sports books has created a sticky problem for the league as it promotes gambling with one hand while slapping players who gamble with the other.

The NFL suspended Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley for all of the 2022 season and Arizona Cardinals cornerback Josh Shaw was suspended for the 2020 campaign and hasn’t played in the league ever since.

“I think they have a problem because sports betting spread so much across the United States and the NFL is saying, ‘We can do it, but you can’t,'” Rose said.

“Once the NFL, or any of these sports leagues, cross over to making money from legal sports betting, it makes it difficult (to tell players not to gamble) and it is hypothetical. But this is a lot of American society, this kind of hypocrisy.”


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