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Shawn Lemon Appeals Gambling Suspension and Attends Alouettes’ Camp

James Foglio
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Montreal Alouettes defensive lineman Shawn Lemon appealed his CFL suspension for sports gambling and arrived at Alouettes’ training camp on Tuesday. Lemon, 35, is appealing a suspension from the league for betting on games, including one he played in. The CFL’s release did not reveal where the bets were placed.

Shawn Lemon is eligible to resume practicing until an arbitrator renders a decision on his gambling suspension

The 12-year CFL veteran is eligible to resume practicing and playing until such time as an arbitrator renders a decision. The league announced his suspension on April 24 — about two weeks after he announced his retirement despite signing a one-year extension with Montreal earlier in the offseason.

“It’s arbitrating now,” Alouettes head coach Jason Maas said. “So in the meantime, we have Shawn, we’re welcoming Shawn. I love Shawn, I think we all do. Love having him here.

“His leadership, his presence in the building is felt, and obviously [he] came out today ready to play already, so he’s ready to go. We’re excited to have him here.”

Lemon declined to comment when asked about his appeal and why he decided to retire before coming back.

“There’s no comment on that. We’ll let the due process work itself out,” Lemon said, before adding in French, “Pas de commentaire,” to reporters’ questions.

Lemon filed his appeal Monday night, the same time Alouettes general manager Danny Maciocia said he found out Lemon would be available. Neither the league nor CFL Players’ Association have divulged details of the appeal.

“He signed his papers and decided, I don’t know exactly when, to return to the game,” Alouettes general manager Danny Maciocia said. “And by doing that, he initiated his appeal.

“It’s been a couple of days since Shawn said he was going to appeal, and the players’ association is in support of the appeal, so here we are. We’re going to respect the process and wait for the league to tell us how this appeal will end.”

Lemon is a three-time Grey Cup champion, helped the Alouettes defeat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in last year’s title game

Shawn Lemon, a three-time Grey Cup champion, helped Montreal defeat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 28-24 in last year’s title game. The Alouettes went 12-4, including the playoffs, after signing Lemon.

The 6-foot-2, 242-pound lineman recorded 26 tackles, nine sacks, two interceptions, and one forced fumble in 13 regular-season games. He logged earned his 100th CFL sack last season as well.

Furthermore, Lemon played collegiately at the University of Akron from 2007-2010. He received the All-Mid-American Conference selection as a senior, leading the team with seven sacks and four fumble recoveries. 

Lemon, a native of Charleston, South Carolina, was training alongside his teammates on Tuesday. Montreal players seem to enjoy having the Akron product around.

“There’s no reason for me to be unhappy,” Maciocia said. “I don’t see any distraction. I mean, everybody’s OK with it. It’s just part of the process. It’s part of the appeal.”

The CFL said an investigation revealed that Lemon had bet on games in 2021 while with the Calgary Stampeders. However, there is no evidence to indicate games were impacted by his wagering.

“The CFL is disappointed that the Players’ Association would challenge a decision so fundamental to the integrity of our league,” CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a statement.

“​The league’s rules prohibiting CFL-related gambling in 2021 were made abundantly clear to all players at the time, yet Mr. Lemon knowingly ignored those rules.

“The prohibition of wagering on the CFL by CFL personnel, including players, is critical to the reputation and standing of the league.​ ​The CFL will vigorously defend its position at the arbitration hearing.”

Lemon is the third Canadian-based athlete to be suspended since sports betting was legalized

Alouettes player union representative Kristian Matte declined to comment and was not made available to the media.

Maciocia said he didn’t know how long the appeal process would take.

“I can’t project what the next few days, the next few weeks or the next few months have in store for us,” he said. “We’re just going to play it one day at a time. Obviously, there’s going to be a hearing that’s going to be set. … Then there’s going to be a ruling that’s going to follow.”

Sports betting was first legalized in Canada in August 2021, allowing provinces to regulate and tax it.

Shawn Lemon is the third Canadian-based athlete to be suspended or banned by a major sports league since the legalization in 2021. 

Ottawa Senators forward Shane Pinto was suspended for the first half of the 2023-24 season by the NHL for an undisclosed betting violation. 

Former Toronto Raptors center Jontay Porter was banned by the NBA in April after a league investigation found he disclosed confidential information to sports bettors. Porter also limited his participation in one or more games for betting purposes and bet on NBA games.

James Foglio
James Foglio

James is a dedicated sportswriter. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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