The National Football League announced Friday that it has suspended five players, including four from the Detroit Lions, for violating the league’s gambling policy.
Lions wide receiver Quintez Cephus, safety C.J. Moore, and Washington Commanders defensive lineman Shaka Toney were all suspended indefinitely through at least the conclusion of the 2023 regular season for wagering on NFL games during the 2022 season. Detroit released both Cephus and Moore on Friday almost immediately after the league’s announcement.
The trio can apply for reinstatement following the conclusion of the 2023 season.
Lions wideouts Jameson Williams — the 12th overall pick in the 2022 draft — and Stanley Berryhill were each suspended for the first six games of the upcoming season. According to the Detroit News, they placed wagers on non-NFL games on official team grounds, with NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reporting the wagers were made on college football games. Per league rules, team grounds extend to practice facilities, stadiums, team planes, and team hotels while traveling.
The suspensions come less than two months after wide receiver Calvin Ridley was reinstated by the league in March after being banned for the 2022 season for placing wagers on games in 2021. Ridley, who is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars, admitted to making three bets totaling $1,500 on games involving the Atlanta Falcons while on the team, but Sports Handle learned he had made six wagers totaling $3,900 from Nov. 23-28, 2021. Ridley remains the highest-profile NFL player suspended by the league since the rapid nationwide expansion of sports wagering in the U.S. following the striking down of PASPA by the U.S. Supreme Court in May 2018.
In its statement, the league said a review uncovered no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way.
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From @NFLNetwork: On the major gambling suspensions this morning — those suspended at least a year were found to have gambling on NFL games. Those suspended six games placed bets on college games but from their facility. pic.twitter.com/dzHWZst5Yz
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 21, 2023
The suspensions come after a season in which the Lions finished 9-8 and raised hopes that they would be competitive in a mediocre NFC North in 2023. The defending champion Minnesota Vikings made a first-round playoff exit and finished the regular season with a negative point differential, the Green Bay Packers are likely moving forward without quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and the Chicago Bears are continuing their rebuild after dealing away the No. 1 overall pick in next week’s draft to stockpile more selections.
“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,” said Detroit Lions Executive Vice President and General Manager Brad Holmes. “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.”
Williiams and Berryhill are eligible to participate in training camp and preseason games during the summer, but will not be eligible to resume practicing with the team until serving the first three games of the suspension. ESPN reported that “several Lions staff members” were fired last season for violating the league’s gambling policy, but these suspensions are separate from that investigation.
Williams missed most of last season rehabbing a torn ACL suffered while playing at the University of Alabama prior to being drafted. He appeared in six games, with his lone reception a 41-yard touchdown against Minnesota in Week 14. His other touch was a 40-yard run versus Chicago in Week 16.
In a statement released by Williams’ agency, Alliance Sports, via Rapoport, it said Jameson’s violation “was not for betting on football, but rather due to a technical rule regarding the actual location in which the online bet was placed — and which otherwise would be allowed by the NFL outside the club’s facility. Jameson would never intentionally jeopardize the integrity of the game he loves so much and looks forward to getting back with his team as soon as possible.”
Cephus, a fifth-round pick by the Lions in 2020, was limited to four games in 2022 due to a foot injury and had two catches for 15 yards. Moore, an undrafted free agent who latched onto the Lions in 2019, appeared in 11 games last season. He made one start in 56 career games with Detroit, with his lone interception coming in 2021.
Toney completed his second season in Washington, appearing primarily on special teams. A seventh-round pick in 2021, he has appeared in 26 games over the last two seasons and had 1.5 sacks as a rookie in 2021.
“We have cooperated fully with the NFL’s investigation since receiving notice and support the league’s findings and actions,” the Commanders said in a statement, per Eric Woodyard’s report for ESPN. “All further questions on the topic should be directed to the NFL League Office.”