Atlanta Falcons Calvin Ridley Suspended For Gambling
By: Kenneth Harrison
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley has made the headlines for a negative reason.
Ridley stepped away from football on Halloween, saying he needed to get his personal life in order.
He gambled on NFL games in 2021 and he has been suspended for at least the 2022 season.
The NFL released a statement Monday announcing his suspension, saying Ridley gambled on games over a five-day stretch in November 2021 when he was on the non-football injury list to address his mental health.
In a series of tweets, Monday after the suspension was announced, Ridley said he bet $1,500 total and that “I don’t have a gambling problem.” He also tweeted that he couldn’t even watch football at the time he made the bets. He added that he’s just going to “be more healthy when I come back” and that “I know I was wrong But I’m getting 1 year lol.”
The NFL determined that Ridley placed multilegged parlay bets involving three, five and eight games that included the Falcons to win via his mobile device out of state, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“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,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a letter to Ridley notifying him of his suspension. “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.”
The NFL said its investigation uncovered no evidence that Ridley used inside information or “that any game was compromised in any way.” There also was no evidence that any of the Falcons’ coaches, staff or players were aware of his betting activity.
The earliest Ridley can apply for reinstatement is Feb. 15, 2023, the NFL said. He also can appeal the suspension by filing notice within three days, per the collective bargaining agreement. It is not known if he has appealed the punishment.
Multiple NFL teams reached out to the Falcons in recent weeks to inquire about trading for Ridley, and each time, Atlanta declined to enter into talks out of good faith, knowing the issues in store for their standout wide receiver.
Ridley’s contract will toll until 2023 and come off the books for 2022, opening up $11.1 million in salary-cap room for the Falcons.
Ridley was a disappointment last season because he only played a few games. It was his first season without Julio Jones because he was traded to Tennessee. Having a player not play for reasons that are not related to an injury is hard for a team to deal with. The Falcons only have one receiver from the 53-man roster last season under contract; rookie Frank Darby.