The news broke on Friday morning. five NFL players were suspended for violating the league’s gambling policyDetails prompted both questions and answers.
Why were there five suspensions and why was their length inconsistent? Should players who bet on NFL matches be punished if they didn’t? What exactly is the NFL policy on gambling and sports betting?
NFL released a statement that answered some questions. Yahoo Sports was able to get more information from league sources as well as a copy of NFL gambling policy. Here’s what we know about the NFL’s gambling policy and why five players are now suspended.
Who’s suspended and why?
Detroit Lions Wide receiver Quintez Cephus, Lions defensive back C.J. Moore The following are some examples of how to get started: Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney They are suspended indefinitely and have the chance to be reinstated after the 2023 NFL Season. Lions receivers Jameson Williams The following are some examples of how to get started: Stanley Berryhill The first six regular season games in 2023 are subject to suspension. Both players can take part in pre-season and off-season activities prior to serving their suspension.
A league press release states that Cephus Moore, and Toney made bets in 2022 on NFL matches. This was not permitted by the league’s policy. That release did not specify what triggered Berryhill and Williams’ consequences. The Lions, however, said in a statement that Berryhill and Williams’ policy violations included “betting from an NFL facility on non-NFL games.” The Lions also announced Friday Cephus Moore and others were dismissed.
What exactly does the NFL’s policy on gambling say?
NFL policy prohibits all forms of gambling at any facility or venue owned by the league including team hotels, stadiums and practice facilities. The NFL policy prohibits gambling by personnel at league or club events, drafts, and when traveling for club or league work, using charter aircraft, or while doing endorsements or promotions.
While player suspensions unsurprisingly generate the most interest (ESPN reported that Lions staffers were also dismissed recently for violating the policy), players — thanks at least in part to union representation — actually have more leeway than any other NFL personnel in the policy, a Yahoo Sports policy review found.
NFL games are not subject to betting. And yet, they’re the only group of league or team employees permitted to bet on other sports. It is illegal for non-players in leagues and teams to place, solicit or facilitate any bet. The following are some examples of how to get started: According to the policy, a sports event, competition or tournament can be a college, professional, international or amateur sport.
NFL personnel are restricted in their promotional appearances. They cannot appear at parties to watch games (even if it is during the respective bye-week) or places that offer sports betting as a primary function. NFL personnel are not allowed to accept gambling entity gifts or services that exceed $250. It is prohibited for NFL players to accept or participate in any daily fantasy football contests, or receive prizes that exceed $250.
How likely is that the players were aware of their violation?
A league spokesperson said that the league educates 17,000 people about its gambling policy every year at training camp. The training includes not only the coaches and team members, but also assistants on gameday and other staff like those who hold down markers.
Yahoo Sports quoted a source from a club who described the three ways players get notice of the policy. Players must acknowledge the policy and agree in writing; the team personnel will address the issue, usually during introductory meetings at the start of training camp. NFL security also visits the teams to talk about this.
Even team employees who aren’t in football operations — think: marketing executives, sales representatives — are subject to these restrictions, which further prohibit gambling while traveling on club or league business, while making an endorsement or promotional appearance, or while at a league facility or venue.
There are still some tricky details, such as the fact that players cannot bet on other sports on team transport or in team hotels even though the same behavior is permitted at home and in vehicles.
Did NFL games have a rigged outcome?
The NFL says its review “uncovered no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way.”
Why then does the league punish players?
The NFL, in its introduction to the 2022 policy, details guidelines with the stated purpose of “maintaining the integrity of its brand, games, clubs, players, coaches and other League and club personnel.”
“Gambling, particularly betting on NFL games or other sports, presents risks to the integrity of our competition and team cohesion,” the introduction states, per a copy obtained by Yahoo Sports. “(It) can undermine the confidence and trust of our fans and colleagues in America’s greatest game.”
What is the likelihood of reinstatement?
The wide receiver who received the latest indefinite suspension is a wide receiver Calvin RidleyBet on NFL games from November 2021, and you will be suspended in March 2022. Ridley has been allowed to play again after missing the entire 2022 NFL season. Now playing for the Jacksonville JaguarsRidley made his first public appearance this week.
“Wow,” he told reporters of his emotions returning to the locker room, “I’m really back here.”
Has anyone responded to this?
No player has spoken to the press since Friday afternoon. The commanders said in a statement that they “have been made aware of” and “have cooperated fully” with the NFL investigation. Williams’ representation, Alliance Sports, said in a statement that he “takes fully responsibility for his actions and is very apologetic.”
They explained the nature of their violation.
“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,” the statement continued. “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.”
What is the best way to get in touch with you? Can you imagine? players do?
Lest you think that everything is off limits, the NFL policy does concede: “For clarity, playing cards or other casino-type games is permitted as long as nothing of value is wagered.”
Follow Yahoo Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein