Washington Commanders edge rusher Shaka Toney was one of five players the NFL suspended on Friday for violating the NFL’s policy on gambling.
Toney, along with Detroit Lions wide receiver Quentez Cephus and C.J. Moore, was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for betting on NFL games. The Lions immediately released Cephus and Moore Friday afternoon, but Toney remains on the Commanders roster.
The Commanders issued the following statement concerning Toney;
“We have been made aware of the suspension of Shaka Toney,” the Commanders said in a team statement on Friday. “We have cooperated fully with the NFL’s investigation since receiving notice and support the league’s findings and actions. All further questions on the topic should be directed to the NFL League Office.”
The suspensions are similar to the one former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley received for betting on NFL games in 2022. All three players can reapply for reinstatement after serving one-year suspensions.
Sources: NFL suspended 5 players, including #Lions WR Jameson Williams, for violations of NFL gambling policy. #Lions’ CJ Moore & Quintez Cephus, plus #Commanders' Shaka Toney, are suspended indefinitely (at least 1 year). Williams & DET’s Stanley Berryhill are suspended 6 games. pic.twitter.com/Jnmzn8iKzj
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 21, 2023
Who is Shaka Toney?
Toney played in 16 games with the Commanders during the 2022 season–the 2021, 7th-round draft choice from Penn State recorded eight tackles, including four solo tackles and 1.5 sacks over his brief, two-year career with Washington.
Despite an injury to DE Chase Young, Toney had fallen behind on the Washington depth chart and played just 51 defensive snaps in 2022 and would have entered training camp hoping to earn a spot on the Commanders’ roster.
Detroit Lions Staff and Suspended Players
Lions wide receivers Jameson Williams and Stanley Berryhill received six-game suspensions for betting on non-NFL contests at the Lions training facility. The two used their cell phones to wager on non-NFL games from the Lions facilities – the suspensions come on the heels of reports the Lions severed ties with several unnamed personnel from various departments within their organization for allegedly wagering on sports on Detroit Lions’ property.
Detroit general manager Brad Holmes said in a statement issued the following statement after the suspensions to Williams and Berryhill were revealed.
“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,”. 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.”
The NFL Gambling Policy is Clear
From the moment they sign an NFL contract, players, coaches, and all team employees are made well aware of the rules about the NFL gambling policy and the mandatory suspension that comes with it if found violating the policy.
According to the NFL’s gambling policy, individuals within the NFL are not allowed to participate in any type of gambling activity within a club or league facility or venue, practice facility, or traveling on official team business. However, it is permitted for players to engage in sports betting as long as it does not involve NFL football contests or special events like the NFL Draft.
Gambling Suspensions and the NFL
Since 1920, the NFL has handed down 10 suspensions to players for specifically betting on NFL games, with five of the suspensions handed down after the 2018 historic Supreme Court ruling (PASPA). In addition to the aforementioned suspended players, the NFL has suspended these players for violation of the NFL gambling policy.
- Paul Hornung (1963) – suspended for one year for betting on NFL games
- Alex Karras (1963) – suspended for one year for betting on NFL games
- Art Schlichter (1983) – suspended indefinitely for betting on NFL games
- Josh Shaw (2019) – suspended indefinitely for betting on NFL games, becoming the first player to be suspended under the league’s updated gambling policy
- Calvin Ridley (2022)-suspended indefinitely for betting on NFL games and was reinstated for the 2023 season.
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