Detroit Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams was among five players suspended by the NFL this offseason for violating the league’s gambling policy. Addressing reporters for the first time since his ban, the former first-round pick says he didn’t know it wasn’t allowed by the NFL.
Williams, the 12th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, was suspended along with former teammates Quintez Cephus and safety C.J. Moore. Detroit released Cephus and Moore, who were suspended indefinitely, and fired multiple staffers for gambling on the team premises.
The NFL suspended Williams for six games for placing a bet on a non-NFL game from a team facility. It means through his first two seasons, the 6-foot-2 receiver will have missed at least 17 games.
- Jameson Williams stats (2022): 41 receiving yards, one touchdown on nine targets
Williams told reporters on Thursday that he wasn’t aware of the NFL’s policies against gambling before his suspension. He also said that he’s “not a gambler” and the instance where he got caught by the league was a rare instance of him betting.
“I didn’t know things like this was coming, but it took me some time, and I just thought about the better days and moving forward. It’s not my last day living so I just look forward to the better days.”
Detroit Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams on learning of his suspension (H/T ESPN)
If Williams wasn’t aware of the rules, it reflects poorly on the Lions’ organization. The NFL suspended Arizona Cardinals defensive back Josh Shaw indefinitely in 2019 for betting on NFL games. In 2022, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended one year for betting on games.
Every player, especially those entering the league, should’ve been informed and reminded that they can’t bet on NFL games nor can they bet on non-football games when at a league-operated building. Yet it’s become clear multiple Lions’ players were unaware of the rule and staffers also participated in gambling.
Considering there is an ongoing investigation into another wave of gambling allegations against players, this could prove to be a league-wide issue that the NFL will need to address quickly.