Detroit Lions first-round pick Jameson Williams was one of five NFL players suspended for violations of the league’s betting policy.
Four Lions’ players and “multiple business and football” employees were identified by the NFL in the league’s most significant crackdown in the online betting era. The Lions said they fully cooperated with the NFL investigation that began at least a month ago.
Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney also was suspended indefinitely.
NFL partnerships and branded team agreements with betting organizations such as BetMGM and PointsBet, whose logos appear at FordField and throughout the city, haven’t changed league rules that prohibit players from betting on NFL games or placing any type of wager — including poker, blackjack or sports bets — while at a team or league facility.
“A league review uncovered no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way,” the NFL said Friday.
Two Lions players that were released Friday after the ruling — wide receiver Quintez Cephus and special teamer C.J. Moore — are suspended indefinitely and “ineligible to apply for reinstatement in 2023.”
Williams, drafted 12th in the first round in 2022, and a third Lions’ receiver, Stanley Berryhill, are suspended for the first six games of the 2023 regular season for betting on non-NFL games with their cellphones while at the team facility.
Williams’ agent, Rocky Arceneaux, offered the following statement:
“Alliance Sports confirms that its client, Jameson Williams, has been suspended by the NFL for six games for violating the NFL’s gambling policy. Jameson takes full responsibility for his actions and is very apologetic to the NFL, his teammates and the fans and city of Detroit.
“However, it is important to note that 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 would otherwise be allowed by the NFL outside of the club’s facility. Jameson would never intentionally jeopardize the integrity of the game he loves so much and looks forward to getting back to his team as soon as possible.”
Lions general manager Brad Holmes also released a statement.
“These players exhibited decision-making that is not consistent with our organizational values and violates league rules.” Holmes said. “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.”
The Commanders also issued a statement.
“We have cooperated fully with the NFL’s investigation since receiving notice and support the league’s findings and actions,” the team said. “All further questions on the topic should be directed to the NFL League Office.”
NFL Network reported Williams and Berryhill placed bets on college football games.
The Lions signed free agent Marvin Jones Jr. around the time the investigation was thought to have begun.
Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended for a year for gambling infractions as a member of the Atlanta Falcons and was reinstated to begin team activities. The league said Ridley made wagers on NFL games of at least $1,500 while away from Atlanta for personal reasons.
–Field Level Media