CFL player suspended indefinitely for betting on games week after Jontay Porter banned from NBA

By: Kahfeel Buchanan
28 Apr 24
CFL
News - CFL
CFL player suspended indefinitely for betting on games week after Jontay Porter banned from NBA

Two professional sports leagues punished an athlete who played on a Canadian team for sports betting this month. The second incident was announced a week after the first.

Highlights

  • Second player connected to a Canadian professional sports team punished for sports betting in April
  • Shawn Lemon suspended indefinitely for betting on games
  • NBA announced Jontay Porter banned on April 17

CFL announces suspension for former Montreal Alouettes and Calgary Stampeders defensive lineman

For the second time in less than two weeks, a league has punished a professional athlete who played for a Canadian team for betting on games. On Wednesday, the CFL announced an indefinite suspension for former Calgary Stampeders defensive lineman Shawn Lemon. “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 CFL can be called into question,” CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said. The suspension was announced one week after the NBA banned former Toronto Raptors center Jontay Porter for betting on NBA games.

According to the CFL, an investigation revealed that Lemon bet on CFL games while with the Stampeders in 2021. The CFL found no evidence that shows games were impacted by Lemon’s bets. No other players, coaches, or team personnel were aware of Lemon’s actions, according to the league. "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,” Ambrosie said.

Second player punished for betting this month

Lemon, retired since April 10, last played in 2023 for the Montreal Alouettes. He is now the second player with ties to a Canadian professional sports team to receive a suspension or ban for gambling on games. The NBA announced Porter’s ban from the league on April 17. The league’s investigation found that Porter gave confidential information to sports bettors, limited his participation in one or more games for betting purposes, and bet on games. All of those actions violated the league’s rules.

The NBA’s investigation found that Porter limited his participation in at least one of the Raptors’ games to influence the outcome of one or more bets on his performance. “In the March 20 game, Porter played only three minutes, claiming that he felt ill.  Due to the unusual betting activity and actions of the player, the $80,000 proposition bet was frozen and was not paid out.” Porter also “placed at least 13 bets on NBA games using an associate’s online betting account.  These bets ranged in size from $15 to $22,000, for a total of $54,094.  The total payout from these bets was $76,059, resulting in net winnings of $21,965.” Porter didn’t play in any of those games.

Leagues and organizations working to prevent betting corruption in sports

The punishments for Lemon and Porter show how serious leagues are when it comes to getting rid of betting corruption. Leagues are not only finding players who violate the betting rules, but they are also giving huge punishments. In a Q&A, Sportradar integrity services managing director Andreas Krannich spoke about match-fixing and betting corruption in sports.

“Betting itself isn’t the problem,” Krannich said. “If there is a demand there will be an offer and the offer should be regulated because otherwise non-regulation you only facilitate black markets and mafia structure. If you ask a criminal what would be best for his or her business in match-fixing, bad or non-existing regulation because this is the platform they need to succeed and corrupt sport.” According to Sportradar’s data, sports betting sites are safe for the most part. Less than one per cent of all matches that Sportradar monitors are manipulated for betting purposes. 

Kahfeel Buchanan graduated from Toronto Metropolitan University’s journalism program. When not reading, writing, or covering sports, he likes to drink coffee, watch movies, and more. He has years of sports writing and journalism experience. From covering basketball games at Toronto Metropolitan University for the school paper to writing about sports betting, he has published a ton of sports stories throughout his time as a journalist. His work doesn’t end there, Kahfeel wrote a bunch of opinion stories on the Toronto Raptors during his early years as a sports writer, once writing about Fred VanVleet making the NBA All-Star team months before his first All-Star selection in 2022. He works hard to give readers quality journalism and great stories.