DETROIT — Four Lions players, including 2022 first-rounder Jameson Williams, were among five players across the league to be suspended for violating the NFL’s gambling policy following a league investigation.
Lions wide receiver Quintez Cephus and safety CJ Moore have been suspended indefinitely for betting on NFL games, as has Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney. They can apply for reinstatement again after a year, although Detroit announced that its two players have been fired.
Sophomore wide receivers Williams and Stanley Berryhill are each suspended for six games for mobile betting that took place at Lions Allen Park facility. These two have not wagered on NFL games, the team said.
The NFL noted in its announcement that it found no evidence that inside information was used or that a game was compromised by players’ bets.
The Lions became aware of the NFL’s investigation about a month ago before the league made a final decision.
“As a result of an NFL investigation, we became aware that some of our players have violated the league’s gambling policy,” Detroit general manager Brad Holmes said in a statement. “These players have demonstrated decision-making that is not consistent with our organizational values and is against league rules. We have made the decision to part ways with Quintez and CJ immediately. We are disappointed with the decision making by Stanley and Jameson and will be working with both players to ensure they understand the seriousness of these violations and have clarity on future league rules.
Aside from those penalties, several Lions employees in various departments have been fired over the past month for violating the gambling policy, a source told ESPN.
The commanders also released a statement that they had been made aware of Toney’s suspension.
“We have fully cooperated with the NFL investigation since receiving the notification and support the league’s findings and actions,” the team said. “Any further questions on the subject should be directed to the NFL League Office.”
Under league policy, under no circumstances may NFL players and personnel wager on NFL games, the draft, or any other league-related activity. They also cannot place bets while at a team facility or on team-related trips.
Williams’ representative, Alliance Sports, released a statement of apologies on behalf of the wide receiver.
“Jameson accepts full responsibility for his actions and offers his deepest apologies to the NFL, his teammates, the fans and the city of Detroit,” Alliance Sports said. “However, it is important to note that Jameson’s breach did not relate to football betting, but to a technical rule in relation to the actual location where the online bet was placed – and which would otherwise be permitted by the NFL outside the club, which Jameson never would.” intentionally compromising the integrity of the game he loves so much and looks forward to returning to his team as soon as possible.”
There was excitement around Williams as he entered his sophomore season after being limited to six games as a rookie due to a cruciate ligament tear he sustained in the 2021 college football playoff championship game while playing for Alabama.
The Lions traded to draft Williams 12th in the 2022 draft and he gave glimpses of his playmaking skills in a limited role, scoring a 41-yard touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings in his lone reception in his freshman season.
Williams recently took part in throwing practice in California with several Lions teammates and quarterback Jared Goff to develop chemistry. He was also on hand for the Lions’ offseason volunteer workouts this week.
Williams and Berryhill can participate in organized team activities, minicamps, training camps and preseason, but will not be available for regular season games until week 7.
The penalty for Cephus, Moore and Toney is similar to that of Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley. Ridley was suspended for the 2022 season over bets he made in November 2021 including the Atlanta Falcons, for whom he was then playing. Ridley was reinstated by the NFL this March.