It was March 7th 2022 when the NFL had suspended Wide Receiver Calvin Ridley indefinitely for betting on NFL games during the 2021 season. Ridley ended up serving a one-year suspension before being reinstated in early March of this year.
NFL Players Suspended for Breaking Gambling Policy
You would think players would have learned the lesson that this is a zero-tolerance policy for the NFL, and yet here we are again. The NFL came out today announcing the Suspensions of five players who violated the Gambling policy. Lions wide receivers Jameson Williams and Stanley Berryhill face six-game bans, while wideout Quintez Cephus and defensive back C.J. Moore are suspended indefinitely. Washington Commanders EDGE rusher Shaka Toney is also suspended indefinitely. Embed from Getty Images
The reason for the difference in punishments is, if you bet on the NFL you receive the indefinite suspension, whereas it’s only six-games if you’re betting on different Sports, while at an NFL facility.
The Detroit Lions wasted no time addressing these suspensions, as they have already released Wide Receiver Quintez Cephus and Safety C.J. Moore.
Detroit Lions Executive Vice President and General Manager Brad Holmes released the following statement:
“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. 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.”
NFL’s Change in Stance towards Sports Betting
The NFL’s stance on Sports Betting has raised the ire of many. In 2016 Roger Goodell said of Sports Betting “We remain very much opposed to gambling on sports… we want to make sure we’re doing what’s right for the game.”
Goodell did an about-face in 2021 when they partnered with various Sportsbooks and embraced the new source of revenue. NFL Revenues exploded last year with a 14% increase year-over-year. Total sponsorship revenue was $2.7 Billion Dollars.
Sports Betting has become a key revenue stream for the NFL. 25 NFL teams now have at least one Sports Betting or Daily Fantasy Sport sponsor. Last year, the Buffalo Bills announced a multi-year partnership with FanDuel as their official mobile sports betting partner. Other notable brand sponsors include BetMGM, Bally’s, Betfred, and Bet365.
How this affects the Detroit Lions
As for the Detroit Lions, before the suspensions, the Detroit Lions were the betting favorites to win the NFC North. We’ll know over the coming days if that’ll still be the case.
The suspensions may also alter the Lions NFL draft Strategy, who suddenly find themselves thin at Wide Receiver. Luckily they have two First-round picks to potentially remedy the situation.