As the National Football League further cracks down on violations of the gambling policy, with more suspensions incoming, there are new details of what reportedly led to Detroit Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams being suspended.
Williams, along with four other Lions players, were violating the NFL gambling policy. Williams and Stanley Berryhill received six-game suspensions, while Quintez Cephus, C.J. Moore and Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney were suspended for at least a year.
The six-game suspensions were a result of Williams and Berryhill betting on non-NFL games while present at a league-operated facility. While a majority of players knew they couldn’t bet on NFL games, which results in an indefinite suspension, many were unaware the NFL prohibits betting on any sport while present at any league or team setting.
Many players who spoke to Kalyn Kahler of The Athletic said they were never aware of the league’s policies barring betting on other sports while at a team or league setting. Adding further credibility to this is what may have led to Williams’ suspension.
“My understanding is that Jamo (Jameson Williams) bet on a college football game from an app in a team hotel in a different state where sports gambling is also legal.”Jeff Risdon on reported details that led to Detroit Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams’ suspension
If accurate, Williams’ actions are certainly something several other NFL players have done within the past year. After finishing a game or practice while on a road trip, players might view returning to the hotel as being at home.
While the hotel isn’t owned by the NFL or any team, league rules seemingly determine that it counts as NFL grounds. So, even if a player places a legal bet on a college football game from their hotel room, they can be suspended for it.
The NFL’s partnerships with sportsbooks are with tens of millions of dollars every year, so maintaining those relationships and preserving the league’s integrity are paramount. However, it’s been made clear that the NFL has provided its players with very little clarity on the specifics of the anti-gambling rules.
Considering the level of discipline for violations and the broad scope of what merits a suspension, it could be argued the NFL itself holds some responsibility for the violations.