Falcons WR Calvin Ridley Suspended For Betting On NFL Games

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Calvin Ridley suspended by NFL for betting on games (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley has been suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for at least the 2022 season for betting on games during the 2021 season. The suspension was announced by the league Monday afternoon.

The NFL’s statement says Ridley bet on games during a five-day stretch in November when Ridley wasn’t with the team or at its facility. Ridley was on the non-football injury list at the time.

The NFL says it has found no evidence that any games Ridley bet on were compromised in any way. The investigation also found Ridley used no inside information for his bets.

Ridley played in just five games last season, announcing during Atlanta’s Oct. 31 game against the Panthers — the first one he missed — that he was stepping away from the game for mental health reasons. Five days later, the Falcons placed him on the non-football injury list.

Details Of Ridley’s NFL Betting

In a tweet, Ridley suggests $1,500 in wagers prompted the suspension.

Ridley included the Falcons in three separate parlays placed between Nov. 23-28, The Athletic reports. Atlanta, as a 1-point favorite, beat the Jaguars on Nov. 28, 21-14.

Per MMQB’s Albert Breer, Ridley was caught betting on the Hard Rock app in Florida during the brief period of time the app was live and taking wagers in the state.

Goodell Says Integrity Of The Game Is Paramount

“There is nothing more fundament to the NFL’s success – and to the reputation of everyone associated with our league – than upholding the integrity of the game,” Goodell wrote to Ridley in the letter informing him of the 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, threatening 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 promptly reporting for an interview, and admitting your actions.”

Ridley has three days to file a notice of appeal for his suspension. If he doesn’t appeal, or the suspension is upheld on appeal, he’ll be eligible to apply for reinstatement on Feb. 15, 2023.

Ridley had 31 catches for 281 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2021. He was a first-round draft pick of the Falcons in 2018.

Ridley The Latest NFL Player To Be Suspended For Gambling

Some will point the finger at the legalization of sports betting as a cause of Ridley’s predicament, but he is at least the fifth NFL player to be suspended for gambling, dating back to Alex Karras in 1963. Also, betting activity being above board and monitored led to Ridley getting caught by the league.

Also read: 900-plus sports events suspected of betting corruption, match-fixing in 2021

About the Author

Mark Ashenfelter

Mark Ashenfelter is a Connecticut-based sportswriter and editor who has covered everything from NASCAR to the Philadelphia Phillies and Eagles. A life-long Philadelphia sports fan, in addition to Penn State football and the Baltimore Orioles, he's previously worked at ESPN, NASCAR Scene magazine and the Daily Local News in Chester County, PA.

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