The National Football League announced Friday that it suspended five players for violating its gambling policy, which included using online sports betting sites at a team facility.
Quintez Cephus and C.J. Moore of the Detroit Lions and Shaka Toney of the Washington Commanders were suspended indefinitely for at least the 2023 season for betting on NFL games last season, the league announced. The three can apply for reinstatement at the end of the upcoming campaign.
Meanwhile, Stanley Berryhill and Jameson Williams of the Lions were suspended for the first six games of the 2023 regular season for lesser gambling violations. The two players can still take part in all off-season and preseason activities.
“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,” the league said in a press release. “A league review uncovered no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way.”
An awkward embrace
Friday’s announcement follows the suspension of star wide receiver Calvin Ridley for the 2022 season for betting on NFL games. Ridley has since been reinstated by the league and can play in the 2023 season.
Furthermore, Friday’s news comes as the NFL and other professional sports leagues continue to embrace legal sports betting. That embrace, however, has led to some awkward moments, such as suspensions. The NFL is also part of a recently announced “Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising” that is trying to ensure marketing is “in good taste,” among other things, amid pushback from lawmakers and regulators.
Lions released WR Quintez Cephus and S C.J. Moore after the NFL suspended them.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 21, 2023
There were more immediate consequences for two of the players suspended Friday, as the Lions' Cephus and Moore were released by the team.
The Lions also noted that Berryhill and Williams were suspended for “other gambling policy violations,” which included wagering from an NFL facility on non-NFL games.
"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," Detroit Lions Executive Vice President and General Manager Brad Holmes said in a press release. "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."