Getty Images

The NFL has made it very clear that gambling on games won't be tolerated and five different players found that out the hard way on Friday. The NFL has announced that Stanley Berryhill III, Jameson Williams, Quintez Cephus, C.J. Moore and Shaka Toney have all been suspended for gambling. 

The Lions were hit the hardest by the suspensions with four players being banned (Berryhill, Williams, Cephus, and Moore) while Toney plays for the Commanders. The most notable name on the list is Williams, who was the 12th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft

Although each player is now suspended, the suspensions aren't created equally. Williams and Berryhill have each only been suspended for six games. Both players are eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason activities, including preseason games. For those two, their suspensions won't take effect until the day after the final roster cutdown in August and they'll be eligible to return at some point in mid-to-late October, but the official return date won't be known until the Lions' 2023 schedule comes out. 

Williams took accountability in a statement released by his agency, Alliance Sports, via NFL Media

"Jameson takes full responsibility for his actions and is very apologetic to the NFL, his teammates and the fans and city of Detroit. However, 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. 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."  

The other three players -- Cephus, Moore and Toney -- have all been suspended for at least one year. Those three players have been indefinitely banned and they can't apply for reinstatement until April 2024 at the earliest. 

Whenever Cephus and Moore end up returning to the NFL, they won't be playing for the Lions. The team decided to release them just minutes after their suspensions were announced on Friday. The Lions also released a statement on the situation. 

"As a result of an NFL investigation, it came to our attention that a few of our players had violated the league's gambling policy," general manager Brad Holmes said. "These players exhibited decision making that is not consistent with our organizational values and violates league rules. We have made the decision to part ways with Quintez and C.J. immediately. We are disappointed by the decision making demonstrated by Stanley and Jameson and will work with both players to ensure they understand the severity of these violations and have clarity on the league rules moving forward."

According to ESPN.com, the Lions have also fired several staff members from various departments in the organization who may have also been gambling. 

In the announcement about the suspensions, the NFL noted that there was "no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way."

The reason Williams and Berryhill didn't get hit with a one-year suspension is because they didn't bet on NFL games. According to NFL.com, those two were caught betting on college games at the team's practice facility. The NFL's gambling policy prohibits anyone in the NFL from engaging in any form of gambling in any club or league facility or venue, including the practice facility.

As for the other three players, they were hit with the indefinite ban because they were caught betting on NFL games. The five suspensions come just 13 months after Calvin Ridley was hit with an indefinite suspension for gambling on the NFL. Ridley has since been reinstated, but after his suspension was handed out in March 2022, the NFL "reached out to educate players on the gambling policy," according to MLive.com

Not only did the Lions get hit with four suspensions, but three of those are at the receiver spot with Williams, Berryhill and Cephus all playing that position. The Lions will now likely look to add some receiving depth in the draft. 

The suspension of Williams comes as the biggest blow to the Lions. Detroit traded up 20 spots to grab him in last year's draft even though the team knew he wouldn't be able to play right away due to an ACL injury. After watching him miss 11 games due to injury last season, the Lions had high hopes for Williams in 2023, but now, they'll have to wait until at least Week 7 to see what he can do.