In a statement released by the NFL, it was announced that Calvin Ridley, the Falcon’s number one receiver, gambled on games over a five-day stretch in November 2021. Ridley was on the non-football injury list after Halloween for the rest of the season to address his mental health.
As if being a Falcons fan was not hard enough. This might be the lowest moment in the franchise’s history since they blew a “you know what” lead in Super Bowl 51, a personal lowlight in my life.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed Ridley in the statement saying:
“There is nothing more fundamental to the NFL’s success - and to the reputation of everyone associated with our league - than upholding the integrity of the game. This is the responsibility of every player, coach, owner, game official, and anyone else employed in the league. Your actions put the integrity of the game at risk, threatened to damage public confidence in professional football, and potentially undermined the reputations of your fellow players throughout the NFL.
“For decades, gambling on NFL games has been considered among the most significant violations of league policy warranting the most substantial sanction. In your case, I acknowledge and commend you for your promptly reporting for an interview, and for admitting your actions.”
Ridley can petition for reinstatement on February 15, 2023 and can appeal the suspension by filing notice within three days, according to the statement.
The league’s investigation found that Ridley placed multi-legged parlay bets involving three, five and eight games that included the Falcons to win from his phone.
At least he bet on his team to win, right?
The statement also said that the NFL found no evidence that inside information was used or that the game was compromised because of Ridley’s bets and that none of the Falcons’ coaches, players or staff knew about his gambling.
The Atlanta Falcons also released a statement saying that they were first made aware that the NFL was investigating Ridley’s gambling on Feb. 9, four days before the Super Bowl, and have cooperated with the investigation since they have been notified.
According to ESPN, the NFL learned about Ridley’s gambling activity because of the league’s relationships with the legal sports betting industry.
Ridley had his own thoughts on his suspension as he posted a series of tweets after the suspension was announced.
In one of the tweets, he said, “I bet 1500 total I don’t have a gambling problem.”
In another post, he said, “I couldn’t even watch football at that point.”
He also said, “I know I was wrong But I’m getting 1 year lol.”
Since 2018, Ridley is the second player to be suspended for betting on NFL games and the fifth player since 1963, according to ESPN.
In the United States, 30 states and the District of Columbia have introduced legal sports betting markets.