CFL suspends recently retired Lemon indefinitely for betting on league games

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Former CFL all star Shawn Lemon suspended indefinitely for betting on league games
WATCH: An investigation has revealed that former CFL all star Shawn Lemon bet on games while he was a member of the Calgary Stampeders. As Moses Woldu reports, that investigation has led to an indefinite suspension. – Apr 24, 2024

There will be no immediate comeback for veteran defensive lineman Shawn Lemon.

The CFL suspended Lemon indefinitely Wednesday for betting on league games, including one in which he played.

Lemon, a three-time Grey Cup champion, retired April 10 to cap a career in Canada that spanned 13 seasons.

The CFL said in a statement an investigation showed Lemon bet on CFL games in 2021 while with the Calgary Stampeders.

The league added there was no evidence to indicate games were impacted by his wagering and that no Calgary coaches, teammates or team personnel were aware of Lemons’ actions.

In a statement on Wednesday morning, the Calgary Stampeders said it is “surprised and disappointed” by the results of the CFL’s investigation.

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The team said it “unequivocally” supports the CFL’s policy on gambling while condemning Lemon’s actions.

“The Stampeders echo CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie’s comments about the upmost importance of preserving the integrity of the sport and the league,” the statement read.

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Declan Hill, a professor of investigations at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, said a lot of sports fans will be questioning if they are watching a genuine sports game or watching “a piece of theatre.”

He told Global News that a lot of sports leagues across North America are starting to be “seduced” by sports gambling because it brings in a lot of money.

“A lot of sports fans will be asking: ‘What’s going on here?’ Are you really surprised when you’re plastering your media and stadiums with gambling companies that players are also going to start gambling? And now you expect us to believe in your product? This is the real fundamental issue that all Canadian sports have to face now,” Hill said.

Hill said he is confused why the CFL is going after Lemon now, and not years ago.

“Why now? I mean, the man just retired. These alleged battles happened three years ago. This is what you’re claiming is your amazing sports integrity protection?”

“Can you imagine if somebody (broke into) your house and three years later, after he’s given up being a burglar, the cops finally arrest him? I mean, it really speaks to how slow and inadequate the protection for sports integrity is in this country.”

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Hill said the fundamental issue is whether anything criminal happened.

“Even if an athlete in Canada fixes a game, if they deliberately underperform because some bookie is paying them off, it isn’t criminal. We’re living in an arrest-free zone,” he said.

“The Trudeau government has not made match-fixing illegal, and all we need is 15 minutes to change the Criminal Code of Canada. It’s got to be done. Otherwise, we’re going to see more and more of these scandals,” Hill added.

–With files from The Canadian Press.

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