NFL suspends five players for violating gambling policy

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Five NFL players have been suspended for violating the National Football League’s gambling policy, the league announced today.

The policy bars anyone in the NFL from engaging in any kind of gambling in league facilities or venues, including practice facilities. The league said its review uncovered no evidence that inside information was used.

No games were compromised as a result of the gambling, the NFL added.

Three players — Quintez Cephus and C.J. Moore of the Detroit Lions, and Shaka Toney of the Washington Commanders — will be suspended indefinitely, at least until the end of the 2023 season, for betting on NFL games last season.

Those players will be able to petition for reinstatement at the end of the season.

Two other Lions athletes — Stanley Berryhill and Jameson Williams — are suspended from playing in the first six regular season games. They will be able to participate in offseason and preseason activities.

Quintez Cephus #87 of the Detroit Lions catches the ball for a first down during the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The NFL’s crackdown comes as 33 states, including Michigan, and Washington, D.C., have launched legal betting markets since a landmark 2018 U.S. Supreme Court case paved the way for states to offer legal sports wagering.

Earlier this week, major pro leagues — the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, WNBA, NASCAR and MLS — announced they were joining media companies NBCUniversal and Fox to form a coalition that aims to regulate sports-betting advertising as it floods television, internet and print media.

Soon after the suspensions were announced, the Detroit Lions said they were releasing Cephus and Moore. According to ESPN, the Lions became aware of the NFL’s investigation “about a month ago.”

“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,” Detroit Lions executive vice president and general manager Brad Holmes said in a statement.

The Commanders said the team is aware of Toney’s suspension. “We have cooperated fully with the NFL’s investigation since receiving notice and support the league’s findings and actions,” the team said in a statement.

Shaka Toney #58 of the Washington Commanders stands during the national anthem against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on November 20, 2022 in Houston, Texas.
Cooper Neill | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

Toney’s suspension is the latest hit for the Commanders. Last week, the district’s attorney general said the Commanders will pay $625,000 to settle allegations that the organization failed to return fans’ tickets deposits. 

Former D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, who sued the Commanders last year, alleged that since 1996 the football team has promised to return fans’ security deposits for premium seating but instead pocketed the money and spent it.

A Commanders spokesperson said in a statement the team hasn’t collected security deposits in more than a decade and has been “actively working to return any remaining deposits since 2014.”

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.

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