Tim Donaghy featured in our Athletes and coaches who have gotten in trouble for betting
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Athletes & Coaches Who’ve Gotten In Trouble For Betting

It’s written in their contracts and quite literally common sense. They aren’t supposed to do it, but they do it anyways – players, and even coaches, gambling on sports.

I guess the millions they make in their athletic careers just aren’t enough. Instead, they choose to wager thousands or rig outcomes of games… in their own league!

Please just focus on training, so I can reliably hammer your props and hopefully add some zeros to my bank account.

What Players Have Been Caught Betting On Sports?

Surprisingly, more than you’d think. Take the NFL’s Detroit Lions for example, who will need to replace four players after a betting scandal surfaced in April 2023.

Reprimands and suspensions don’t stop ‘em, either. If I can bet on anything, I bet they won’t learn their lesson.

The Detroit Lions Are Lyin’

In the first few months of 2023, the Lions would suddenly be short four players heading into the upcoming season. Quintez Cephus and C.J. Moore have been suspended indefinitely, which carries a one-year ban from the field, after wagering on the previous year. Both will be eligible for reinstatement for the 2024 season.

Former first-rounder, Jameson Williams, and Stanley Berryhill are also facing a six-game suspension. The duo got in trouble for betting on other sports… but in an NFL facility. Guys, just do it at home.

Sneaky Stripes

While blaming the referees for a loss is an overused, shitty excuse, it was actually accurate when Tim Donaghy was on the court. He may not be an athlete or coach, but NBA’s Donaghy is the focal point for one of the biggest betting scandals in sports history.

Back in 2007, a full-blown FBI investigation found Donaghy guilty of betting on games he was officiating. He would disclose insider information with two buddies, who would then place bets on games he would be officiating and they would share winnings with Donaghy if he rigged the game in their favor.

This would go on for four years before Donaghy’s 14 seasons in the NBA would end after he was found guilty of his scheme.

Calvin Ridley Takes Responsibility 

In 2021, Atlanta Falcon’s Calvin Ridley was confronted by league investigators after betting allegations. That season, Ridley wasn’t playing due to personal mental health reasons. So, he sought out independent therapy – a gambling app.

From there, the wide receiver would wager on NBA and NFL games, including his Falcons. Ridley owned up to his mistakes, opening up about a dark period in his life where a foot injury took away his passion for the game.

The Alabama Crimson Tide product paid his dues, being benched all of last season. Now, hopefully, a healthy Ridley joins the Jacksonville Jaguars next year.

Dirty White Sox

Baseball fans and players, let me ask you a question: if you could choose between winning the World Series or losing for a split pile of money, what would you pick?

For the 1919 Chicago White Sox, the choice was simple – money. Arnold Gandil convinced seven teammates to purposely be defeated in their series against the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds would take the best-of-nine series in a 5-3 final.

A year later, newspapers would print the shocking scandal on the frontpage after pitcher Eddie Cicotte spilled the beans. The RHP would admit he received $10,000 for throwing two games in the series.

The White Sox took out their dirty laundry as Cicotta, Gandil and six others would be given a lifetime ban from MLB.

Rigged & Still Can’t Win

Imagine literally rigging a game and still not hitting your parlay? That’s the embarrassing story for players on the 1994 Northwestern Wildcats’ football and basketball squads.

The plot? Point-shaving. Dewey Williams and Kenneth Dion Lee made a pact to attempt to lose by more points than their consistent underdog point spread line, basically letting their team get their asses kicked.

Rigging your team to win can come with challenges. But forcing a loss should be easier... you’d think. Williams and Dion Lee couldn’t even do that, entering as 25.5-point underdogs against the Michigan Wolverines and eventually losing by 17. Like, just toss the ball into the sidelines, miss the basket or let your opponent sink a few.

Three starters on the football team were found guilty of doing the same, too. The players would bet against their own team as 15-point underdogs in their meeting with the Ohio State Buckeyes. Well, they didn’t get the job done as the Wildcats edged a 17-15 defeat, nearly pocketing an upset win.  

Honorable Mention: Petty Paul

I have to throw this one in here just because it gave me a good chuckle. In 1963, Detroit Lions’ Paul Hornung would be punished as an example after being found betting hundreds of dollars on football games.  

The former Heisman Trophy winner was banned for an entire season. Hornung must’ve considered the punishment a slap on the wrist because after returning from his suspension, he had a quick one-liner after being asked heads or tails during the coin toss.

Hornung turned to the official and apparently said, “I’m sorry, I’m not permitted to gamble.”

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