The team could lose another player as well. The Athletic’s Kalyn Kahler reported on May 26 that the league is investigating a fifth player from the 2022 Lions roster for a potential violation of the NFL’s gambling policy.
Kahler indicated in her report that she “is not naming the player at this time because the investigation is ongoing.” But that player is not safety Tracy Walker.
At least that’s what he claimed on Twitter.
“For all the people thinking it’s me … I don’t gamble,” wrote Walker on Twitter in a quote tweet of Kahler’s report.
Kahler reported that the NFL has not interviewed the unidentified player yet. The player’s agent along with the NFL, NFLPA and Lions declined to comment.
Lions Ongoing NFL Gambling Scandal
The NFL announced the suspensions of five players for gambling violations on April 21. Of those five players, four of them were on the Lions.
Wide receiver Quintez Cephus and safety C.J. Moore received indefinite suspensions. They cannot partake in any NFL activities for at least a year. In April 2024, they can apply for reinstatement.
The Lions released both Cephus and Moore immediately after the league suspended them.
Detroit wide receivers Jameson Williams and Stanley Berryhill also received six-game suspensions. They did not bet on NFL games but conducted non-NFL related sports betting at a team facility, which is against league rules.
The Lions released Berryhill on May 9. Williams can participate in offseason team workouts until the final roster cutdown day at the end of August.
Lions head coach Dan Campbell spoke about moving forward from the suspensions in his first media availability at OTA practices. But it’s hard to do that with an ongoing investigation.
ESPN’s David Purdum reported on May 22, days before Kahler’s report, that the NFL is investigating a second wave of potential gambling violations. Purdum wrote that “regulated sports betting is spreading rapidly” around the United States and that the league is trying to be proactive with “increased monitoring and education” and “stiff penalties” working as a deterrent.
With that in mind, it’s possible the Lions could lose not just one but multiple players to another round of gambling suspensions.
At the very least, sports gambling is a ongoing issue that the Lions and every team around the league must deal with going forward.
The best way to prevent violations is to follow Walker’s self-proclaimed strategy — not gamble.
Mike Florio Rips Lions for Gambling Education
Lions head coach Dan Campbell defended his organization’s sports gambling education at OTA practices on May 25. But that left Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio less than impressed.
“The proof is in the pari-mutuel pudding. It’s not a coincidence,” Florio wrote. “The players didn’t know. Williams said he didn’t know. Which means that the Lions didn’t do a good enough job making sure they knew.
“And what the players need to know isn’t just the policy, but the very serious reactions for violating it.”
With four suspended players and a fifth under investigation, it’s hard to disagree. Williams helped make Florio’s point with what he revealed to the media at OTAs.
“It hit me out the blue,” Williams said on May 25. “And, it hit a couple other players around the league and on my team out the blue.”
“I wasn’t aware of this situation.”
Maybe Walker can be an example for Lions players to avoid future gambling violations.