Since the initial news broke about player suspensions due to violations of the NFL’s gambling policy, local beat writers published stories with additional details on the Lions’ situation. MLive’s Kyle Meinke posted a story about the suspensions on Friday, as did Dave Birkett from the Detroit Free Press and Justin Rogers from the Detroit News. While most fans are already aware of the main takeaways (Quintez Cephus and C.J. Moore released, Stanley Berryhill and Jameson Williams suspended for six games at start of season), deeper reporting included some interesting details and clarifications.
The violations by Williams and Berryhill were for “mobile betting on non-NFL games done from a team facility,” according to Birkett’s story. Meinke’s story further clarifies that the actions in question were “on their cellphones inside the team facility,” though it’s unclear if it was done literally at the team facility or at non-Lions NFL facilities or on team travel, which is also not permitted by NFL rules. The Athletic’s Nick Baumgardner felt it was important to point out on social media that work-related travel in the NFL is not really the same as it is in other professions where there is a home away from home component to go off the clock.
The articles also point out the limited early regular season activities Williams and Berryhill would be allowed to participate in even after being admitted to the team facilities following Week 3. Justin Rogers wrote that the two players would be “barred from the team’s practice facility for three weeks, half of (their) suspension. (They’ll) then be allowed to rejoin the team for conditioning, strength training and meetings, but (they) will continue to be prohibited from practicing unless the league grants an exemption.” Fox 2’s Dan Miller also posted about the warm up period allowed to Jameson Williams and Stanley Berryhill (emphasis added): “They can apply to get back into the facility after 3 weeks to work out on their own but cannot practice with the team” during that time. Per Meinke, “(b)oth players can participate in the offseason program, training camp and the preseason, but will have to leave the team for the start of the regular season. They can return to practice in Week 4.”
Another detail in the beat reports is that other Lions employees were also disciplined for league gambling policy violations. According to Birkett’s story, the Lions “previously fired four lower-level staff members in March for violating the league’s gambling policy for employees.” Rogers’ reporting added that “a league source confirmed several staffers from various departments within the organization were terminated earlier this offseason,” while Meinke further clarified that those non-player employees were “on both the football and business sides of the organization.” Rogers wrote in his report that “(t)he NFL gambling policy is stricter for non-players, prohibiting wagers on any sporting events.”
All NFL Personnel other than Players are further prohibited from placing, soliciting, or facilitating bets on any other professional (e.g., NBA, MLB, NHL, PGA, USTA, MLS), college (e.g., NCAA basketball), international or Olympic sports competition, tournament or event.— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) April 21, 2023
Considering this involved both players and non-player employees from across the organization, ProFootballTalk felt the organization ought to work on its internal training on the 2018 league policy. Rogers agreed:
It's a fair criticism. It's not that the policy wasn't taught, but clearing the way it was delivered didn't hit home the way it was intended, so the presentation of the information needs revamping. https://t.co/JKbMQ3oWQ9— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) April 21, 2023
There are still a lot of unknowns and technical details to sort out regarding things like guaranteed money in contracts for the affected players, whether any of the non-players were part of the coaching staff, and salary cap ramifications. With very little enforcement action precedent to go on, we will be watching this closely for further clarifications or developments. Thankfully, the Lions beat has many great reporters covering it like Birkett, Rogers, and Meinke. Now, on to the rest of your weekend Notes:
- The debate over drafting running backs in the first round has been a thing for more than a decade. Here’s a recent literature review gem of a thread found by our own Erik Schlitt:
Some people will really enjoy this thread… others will hate it … so, enjoy or skip it, deep on your preference https://t.co/2HU9lYpsMb— Erik Schlitt (@erikschlitt) April 21, 2023
- This week’s episode of Twentyman in the Huddle on the team’s official YouTube channel features NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah and NBC Sports’ Connor Rogers to talk about the draft. Aaron Rodgers’ nemesis Kerby Joseph also stopped by to talk about the 2021 season and some of the prospects in the upcoming draft that he knew in college.
- Did you know David Montgomery and Marvin Jones, Jr. are hardcore bowlers? In this video, we get to see there are a ton of soccer fans on the Lions’ roster. Michael Badgley ends up giving three answers, but it’s Jack Fox who gives the best one of all.
- On Thursday, Kyle Meinke and Ben Raven from MLive posted their latest Dungeon of Doom podcast episode. The featured guest was former-quarterback-turned-analyst Dan Orlovsky, who discussed the Lions quarterback situation and Jared Goff’s status with the team.
- The Athletic’s Nick Baumgardner and Colton Pouncy posted the latest episode of their podcast One Of These Years on Friday, in which they reacted to the Jameson Williams suspension. Colton Pouncy wrote an article (subscription required) about how the Lions should deal with the temporary 6-game vacancy on the depth chart due to the suspension.
- The Detroit Lions Cheerleaders wanted to let everyone know their High School Dance Master Class training sessions are just over a week away on May 1st and 3rd. Registrations are still open for those interested in learning from their amazing squad.
- Some college football rule changes (hat tip to The Athletic’s Chris Burke):
The three rule changes have been approved for Divisions I and II, source tells @TheAthletic.— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) April 21, 2023
- A running clock after first downs, except for the last two minutes of each half
- No consecutive timeouts by a team
- Foul at end of 1Q/3Q carries over (no untimed downs) https://t.co/a396vhLLbb