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Ex-CFL Player Catches Lifetime Ban for Gambling

Former Canadian Football League (CFL) star Shawn Lemon is getting the Pete Rose treatment from the sport he played in for 13 seasons. Earlier this week the CFL slapped Lemon with a lifetime ban from the sport for committing the cardinal sin of professional sports, betting on his own games.

The ban may not have a huge impact on Lemon’s career as a player, since he announced his retirement earlier this month, but it will impact his legacy on the sport. That’s significant because Lemon spent more than a decade playing CFL ball and played on three Grey Cup-winning teams during his career.

Lemon’s legacy-ending bets were placed back in 2021, though it’s unclear if they were made with regulated or black market operators. Details about how many bets were placed and for how much, have not yet been revealed.

Because of the serious nature of Lemon’s actions, his former teams offered nothing in the way of support for their player. In comments reported on by The Victoria News, a spokesperson for the Montreal Allouettes, for whom Lemon helped win a Grey Cup back in 2022, supported the ban saying, “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.”

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie was similarly, but appropriately, hard on Lemnon adding, “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.”

Lemon is the third Canadian athlete to catch a lifetime ban for gambling, but appears to be the first CFL player to earn that dubious honor.