Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams spoke to reporters for the first time since the NFL suspended him in April for the first six regular-season games of the 2023 season for betting on non-NFL games while at a league facility.
Williams, who found out about his punishment before the NFL announced it last month, said he was unaware of the rules and shocked by the suspension. The former No. 12 pick in the 2022 NFL draft was part of three other Detroit players at the time who received suspensions for violating the NFL’s gambling policy.
“It hit me out the blue,” Williams said, per ESPN’s Eric Woodyard. “It hit a couple of other players around the league, on my team, out the blue. I wasn’t aware of the situation. After it happened … I was ready to move forward as things moved on and I got the consequences.”
Detroit’s first six weeks of the season includes matchups against the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs on the road to open the year on Thursday Night Football, along with games against the Seahawks, Falcons, Packers, Panthers and Buccaneers.
Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams: "I’m not a gambler. I’m a football player." pic.twitter.com/QiO1g0U07s— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) May 25, 2023
While Williams will not play to start the season, he is still eligible to participate in the team’s offseason training activities, preseason activities as well as preseason games. His suspension, according to the league’s statement, will go into effect at the Lions final roster cutdown.
Until then, the 22-year-old said he was focused on playing in his first game of the season in Week 7 when the Lions go on the road to face the Ravens on Oct. 22.
“I’m not a gambler,” Williams said, per Brad Galli of WXYZ-TV in Detroit. “I’m a football player. I’m just looking forward to… getting back with my team out there, playing the game.”
Four Detroit players were hit with betting-related penalties. The NFL suspended receiver Quintez Cephus and safety C.J. Moore indefinitely through at least the conclusion of the 2023 season for placing wagers on NFL games while receiver Stanley Berryhill, like Williams, received a six-game suspension.
Shortly after the league announced the punishment, Detroit announced that it was parting ways with both Cephus and Moore.