Four Detroit Lions players have been suspended by the NFL for gambling, clearly headlined by wide receiver Jameson Williams.
Sometimes a take ages badly, and ages badly quickly. Less than 24 hours after some of us covering the Detroit Lions urged fans to relax about Jameson Williams, a Friday morning bombshell hit.
The NFL announced five players, including four Lions, have been suspended for gambling. Williams and wide receiver Stanley Berryhill have been suspended for six games, while wide receiver Quintez Cephus, safety C.J. Moore and Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney have been suspended indefinitely.
"As a result of an NFL investigation, it came to our attention that a few of our players had violated the league’s gambling policy,” “These players exhibited decision making that is not consistent with our organizational values and violates league rules. 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.”"
Jameson Williams appears to only be the headliner of a bigger Lions problem
Williams is specifically mentioned to have bet on non-NFL games from an NFL facility. The key violation point is “from an NFL facility”, which is against the rules that seemed clear when they were instituted. Of course betting on NFL games is not allowed in any setting, and betting on anything in a team plane, team building, etc. is not allowed.
The hypocrisy of NFL players being suspended for betting when the league is in bed with sportsbooks is clear.
But there’s also this addition to the story, from ESPN.
"Separate from these punishments, several Lions staff members in various departments were dismissed last month for violating the gambling policy, a source told ESPN."
So it’s not just Williams, Berryhill, Cephus and Moore. The Lions apparently fired several staff members just last month for violating the league’s gambling policy. That feels like a failure to make it expressly clear to everyone, players all the way through to team staff of various capacities, what is allowed or not allowed in terms of gambling.
Williams will be able to participate in offseason work, training camp and preseason games, and his suspension will start when the regular season starts. After three weeks he can practice, and return to play in Week 7. Of course if the Lions have an early bye, the six-game ban would stretch beyond merely Week 6.
Regardless of knowing the specific NFL rules about gambling or not, Williams had to have known he might be taking a risk to make bets while on team grounds. He couldn’t do anything about the injury that diminished his rookie season, but his second year is off to a dismal start.