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The Lions Have A Gambling Problem

Jameson Williams #9 of the Detroit Lions reacts after a play during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on December 11, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan.
Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

This morning the NFL announced that four Lions players—2022 first-round pick Jameson Williams, wide receiver Quintez Cephus, wide receiver Stanley Berryhill, and safety C.J. Moore—were among five NFL players suspended for violation of the league's gambling policies. (Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney was the fifth.) Tucked into a Detroit News report on the suspensions is news that several Lions staff members in multiple departments were fired for gambling policy violations last month.

These are the NFL's first gambling-related suspensions since the league suspended Calvin Ridley last offseason. The wide receiver was reinstated by the NFL this March, after serving a one-year suspension. Ridley, like Cephus, Moore and Toney, bet on NFL games; they were all suspended indefinitely, with a minimum suspension of one year. Williams and Berryhill received shorter suspensions for slightly different rule-breaking. Their mobile wagers were on non-NFL sports (allowed) but made at the Lions' practice facility (not allowed!!!), a distinction Williams's agency emphasized in a statement. "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 the club's facility," the statement said. The age-old receiver tragedy: They simply needed to get out of bounds.

The NFL's gambling policy prohibits "any form of gambling while in any Club or League setting." Per the policy, those settings include locker rooms and practice facilities, and also team buses, flights, and hotels used while traveling on "Club or League business." (You can play cards on the plane, the policy says, so long as there's no money involved.)

Ridley's bets were reported to the NFL by the Hard Rock Sportsbook app he used; there's been no reporting yet about how the Detroit gambling ring was busted, but it's probably not too difficult IT-wise to catch it happening on team property. The Lions announced shortly afterward that Cephus and Moore have been released. "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," general manager Brad Holmes said. Quintez, Jamo, Stanley, and C.J can't really buy the dip, because the Lions are still favored to win the NFC North.

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