Shawn Lemon indefinitely suspended by CFL for violating gambling rules
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Shawn Lemon indefinitely suspended by CFL for violating gambling rules

Shawn Lemon is a former football defensive lineman who has recently retired from the Canadian Football League (CFL)

The end of his impressive career, one that spanned a grand total of 13 seasons, was announced on April 10th, 2024

Only a few weeks after this announcement, an investigation into Lemon’s case revealed that there were multiple instances in which Lemon was in direct violation of the rules of the CFL. 

During the time that he was still acting as an active player in the league, Lemon had allegedly placed a number of sports betting wagers on CFL games, including bets on matches that he himself had played in

This news comes as a shock to many of his peers, especially in light of the way in which less than a month has passed since Lemon announced his retirement from the Canadian Football League. 

Following this discovery, and the investigation that preceded it, Lemon was immediately handed an indefinite suspension, thus preventing him from ever returning to the CFL. 

The investigation that led to Lemon’s indefinite suspension 

During his career, Shawn Lemon predominantly played in the Canadian Football League (CFL)

Throughout the American player’s time in the CFL, Lemon racked up a total of 237 tackles and 101 sacks. In addition to this, the newly retired defensive lineman had 3 interceptions, forced 30 fumbles, and returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown

Despite his formidable career in the CFL, evidenced by the league offering him a contract in 8 of the 9 CFL franchises over a period of 13 years, Lemon was still placed under very close scrutiny. 

With good reason, this is especially the case considering the way in which the actions of their players could call the legitimacy of the CFL into question. 

On April 24th, 2024, the CFL made an announcement detailing that Shawn Lemon, their recently retired defensive lineman, had been suspended indefinitely for placing several bets on league games, all whilst still being an active player in the league. 

Amongst these CFL games, Lemon had allegedly placed sports bets on a game which he himself had played in back in the 2021 season. During this time, Lemon had been a team member of the Calgary Stampedes

The investigation that was carried out by the CFL revealed that there was “irrefutable evidence of Mr. Lemon’s participation” in the placement of wagers on League games. 

The investigation into Lemon’s case did emphasize, however, that “no evidence was found to indicate matches were in any way impacted by his wagering.” 

In addition to this, the investigation dictated that there was no evidence to support the claim that either the player’s coaches, teammates, or team personnel were aware of his actions. 

If there is one thing that the Canadian Football League wants to make clear with this investigation, it is that a CFL member betting on league games in any shape or form is strictly prohibited by the clearly defined rules of the CFL. 

This includes sharing relevant or sensitive information about CFL games to sports bettors, thus influencing their wagering decisions. 

Comments made in light of recent events 

In the release announcing Lemon’s suspension, Randy Ambrosie, the Commissioner of the CFL, made the following statement in light of recent events: 

"The integrity of our game is of the utmost importance. Any other factors -- career performance, actions in the community, timing frequency or size of wagers -- hold no weight when the legitimacy of the CFB can be called into question." 

Following this statement, Ambrosie went on to state the following: 

“It is our responsibility as a league to investigate and address such abnormalities, and it is our collective duty, along with our teams and players, to ensure that sports wagering in no way impacts the quality nor standing of the CFL. We will continue to work with our authorized gaming operators, partners and stakeholders to hold our game to the highest standard.” 

In a formal statement, the Montreal Alouettes, the team that Lemon had played for before his retirement and who had announced his departure from the league, made the following comment: 

“The Alouettes were recently made aware of the CFL’s investigation regarding an issue involving Shawn Lemon that took place in 2021. Additional information was made available to the club upon the completion of the league’s investigation in recent days. The team fully supports the CFL’s rules on gambling. As a result of this investigation and the league’s ruling, we have suspended Shawn Lemon indefinitely. We will have no further comment.” 

The Calgary Stampeder Football Club also shared their thoughts on this matter, commenting on the following: 

"The Calgary Stampeder Football Club is surprised and disappointed by the revelations of the Canadian Football League's investigation into Shawn Lemon's sports wagering activities. The Stampeders unequivocally support the CFL's policy on gambling and condemn the actions for which the player in question has been sanctioned. 

"The Stampeders echo CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie's comments about the utmost importance of preserving the integrity of the sport and the league. The Calgary Stampeders will have no further comment on the matter." 

Gambling practices amongst professional players 

The CFL is the latest professional sports league to take action on their players for violating their strict gambling rules. 

They are not, however, alone in this venture. In recent months alone, the NBA, MLB and the NFL have all experienced similar cases of players breaking their league’s gambling rules. 

We must clarify that it is completely forbidden for players and team employees of any professional sports league to bet on sporting games of any shape and form. 

Amongst the games that players are prohibited from betting on, players and team members cannot place a wager on prop bets

In addition to this, both players and team members of these professional sports associations are forbidden from sharing any information to bettors and thus purposefully skewing the results of the game that they take part in. 

It is such a prohibited act, in fact, that several sports associations have a team of data analysts who habitually scour the data available to ensure that no such betting irregularities are taking place. 

The Potential Future of former professional football player Shawn Lemon 

At this moment in time, it is unclear whether Shawn Lemon’s eventual place in the Hall of Fame will be negatively impacted by this recent turn of events.  

What we do know, however, is that the professional football player’s potential return to the CFL appears to be very unlikely indeed. 

Despite the indefinite nature of the suspension handed over to the former defensive lineman, the future of the player’s career remains very uncertain

When compared to other recent events in the world of professional sports, specifically the case of Toronto Raptor’s Forward Jontay Porter who received a lifetime ban from the NBL, Lemon’s fate appears to be slightly more hopeful. 

One must take into consideration, however, that unlike Porter, Lemon did not place any bets on himself and his own player performance, and neither did he reveal sensitive information about his own health status to prospective sports bettors with the intention of influencing their wagering decisions

More about Shawn Lemon 

Shawn Lemon's career, in a nutshell: 

  • Lemon had a stellar high school football career in Maryland. 

  • Between 2007 and 2010, Lemon played for the Akron Zips. During his senior season, he was an All-MAC First team selection, leading his team with a total of 39 tackles, 10.5 for a loss, and seven sacks

  • Lemon began his professional career, back in 2011, with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. With this team, his role was that of a practice-roster player

  • Throughout his career, Lemon signed contracts with 8 of the 9 teams in the CFL, all except for Hamilton

  • In 2014, Lemon won the Grey Cups with Calgary, and in 2017, with Toronto

  • At the end of his career, it was calculated that Lemon had managed to rack up a total of 237 tackles and 101 sacks

  • In addition to this, Lemon had 3 interceptions, forced 30 fumbles, and returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown. 

  • In 2022, Lemon was given the name of West Division’s top defensive player for that season. 

  • In 2023, Lemon secured his third Grey Cup title

  • Before his retirement, the Montreal Alouettes signed Lemon on to their team. Despite it being midway through the season, the player still managed to deliver a total of 9 sacks

  • On April 10th, 2024, Lemon announced his official retirement at the age of 35 from the Canadian Football League. 

  • On April 24th, 2024, just a few weeks after his retirement, Lemon was suspended from the CFL for multiple instances of suspected gambling on several league games. 

Comments Lemon made following the announcement of his retirement 

  • “I just spent some time thinking about it and it’s time for me to move on. I’m definitely grateful and thankful for my time in the Canadian Football League. It’s just the right time to leave after a championship and an amazing season with Montreal. I’m thankful they (Alouettes) gave me an opportunity to come in and play last year. I just wish I could’ve got to Montreal a little earlier in my career.” 

  • “Just looking at how the Grey Cup went and all of the adversity I dealt with last year. For the season to wrap up the way it did with reaching my 100th career sack, 13 years played in the CFL and being the 13th player in league history to reach 100 career sacks was unreal. Then me as a player not having signed with Hamilton but winning a Grey Cup in (Tiger-Cats) home locker room, I couldn’t have written a better script.” 

  • “You always want to leave the league better than how you found it and I felt like I truly, truly left this league better than I found it. I tried to be a good teammate, I tried to be a good mentor, I tried to be a good leader to my peers.” 

  • “I was fortunate enough to sign contracts with eight of the nine teams in the CFL and I’ve enjoyed every moment. I’ve really enjoyed the journey, it’s been nothing short of amazing. I’m super thankful I was embraced by the league, by the fans, by the CFLPA, by the coaches and front offices and my teammates. I’m so happy to have called Canada home.” 

Other sports betting scandals that have recently blown up 

MLB star Shohei Ohtani's longtime interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara 

Another scandal in the world of sports betting that has recently been the talk of many takes us from the NBL to the world of professional baseball

This particular scandal involves popular MLB star Shohei Ohtani and his longtime interpreter and close friend Ippei Mizuhara

Major League Baseball star Shohei Ohtani has stated that he was ‘beyond shocked’ to hear that Ippei Mizuhara, his longtime interpreter, had allegedly stolen more than $4.5 million from his bank account to use on illegal sports betting, and thus to fund his gambling addiction. 

Mizuhara is being accused of this massive theft by the lawyers hired to defend the Dodgers’ star player. 

The discovery of this alleged theft was made following an investigation into Matthew Bowyer, a bookmaker living in Orange County, California, who is suspected of carrying out illegal gambling activities

During this investigation, the name Shohei Ohtani was discovered in the bookmaker’s books

After further investigation into this matter, it was discovered that Ippei Mizuhara, the baseball star’s interpreter and trusted friend, had, allegedly, been the one responsible of stealing millions of dollars from Ohtani’s bank account in order to pay the illegal bookmaker currently being investigated. 

In recent weeks, the alleged theft that took place from the MLB star’s banking account has opened up a significantly larger issue that lies at the core of sports betting. 

Toronto Raptors Forward Jontay Porter permanently banned from the NBA 

Jontay Porter, a professional basketball player for the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA), has recently been under investigation for multiple betting irregularities that have been discovered in recent months. 

The National Basketball Association is currently investigating the matter in question.  

The betting irregularities being investigated include prop bets on the player's scoring, rebound and assist totals garnered from a few of the games in which he took part in these past few months. 

If you’d like to know more about this still developing story, make sure to read the full article where we will explain all that has been uncovered so far

About the authorMelanie Cazenave
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A specialist in online casinos, she also loves proofreading. With her, it's impossible for mistakes to slip through the cracks. A true lover of letters, she binds articles and retouches them to make them as perfect as possible.

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