On Friday, the league announced Berryhill and fellow WR Jameson Williams were given six-game suspensions for betting on non-NFL games while at a league facility. Three additional players were handed indefinite suspensions for gambling on NFL games during the previous season.
The three players are Detroit Lions’ Quintez Cephus and C.J. Moore alongside Washington Commanders’ Shaka Toney. They have been sidelined for the entirety of the 2023 sports betting season, but these players are eligible to request reinstatement after a year.
The players won’t play any regular season games, however, the NFL still allows them to participate in all off-season and preseason events, including preseason games. Their suspensions will officially start at the final roster selections.
The NFL takes a strict stance on such issues as it undermines the game’s integrity and could potentially pose a threat to the players themselves. Gambling can lead to match-fixing, resulting in a team losing or winning a game intentionally.
Detroit cut ties with Cephus, Moore
In the wake of these findings, the Lions decided to part ways with both Cephus and Moore. Lions Executive VP and general manager Brad Holmes said on Friday that the two “exhibited decision making that is not consistent with our organizational values and violates league rules.”
Holmes also said that the Lions will work with both Berryhill and Williams “to ensure they understand the severity of these violations and have clarity on the league rules moving forward.”
Williams, via his agency Alliance Sports, has released a statement and expressed his apology to “the NFL, teammates and the fans and city of Detroit.” The agent also defended Williams saying that the suspension was 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.”
For Toney’s case, the Commanders have “cooperated fully with the NFL’s investigation since receiving notice and support the league’s findings and actions.”
This is not the first time the NFL has had to take action against gambling scandals. The league suspended Arizona Cardinals cornerback Josh Shaw in November 2019 after he put his bets on an NFL game.
Commissioner Roger Goodell recently suspended former Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley for the entire 2022 season for betting on NFL games. Ridley, who was traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars, was reinstated on March 6 after two years of absence from football.
Although the league found Ridley did not use any “inside information” when placing his bets, the NFL still considered the 28-year-old “put the integrity of the game at risk, threatened to damage public confidence in professional football, and potentially undermined the reputations of fellow players throughout the NFL,” according to Goodell.
Ridley posted a letter via The Players Tribune on Wednesday addressing his situation and his battle with anxiety and depression following his last season in Atlanta.
“I’m not here to sugarcoat anything. In 2021, I made the worst mistake of my life by gambling on football,” he wrote.
“I paid the price, believe me. I’ve seen all the jokes. I’ve seen all the hate. And I can shoulder all of that, no problem. All I want is for people to understand that, when I made those bets, there was a hell of a lot more going on with me.”
Ridley’s house was also targeted in a gang-related robbery in August last year, which deeply traumatized him and his family. Since then, he felt like “getting hit in my chest, 24/7, by somebody I can’t see.”
“When you’re depressed, you’re not thinking about anything in the future. You’re just trying to get through the day,” Ridley said.