Atlanta Falcons star wide receiver, Calvin Ridley, was suspended by the league for a minimum of a year, for betting on games while he was out with an illness.
The NFL learned that Ridley had placed multi-team parlay bets that involved combinations of three, five and eight games, including his own team, the Falcons, which he bet to win.
League commissioner Roger Goodell scolded Ridley in his suspension letter. “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,” he wrote.
“This is the responsibility of every player, coach, owner, game official, and anyone else employed in the league,” the letter continued. “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.”
Goodell did “commend” the player for admitting his actions, and an investigation revealed no evidence that he used inside information to make the wagers.
Ridley commented on the situation on Twitter, revealing that he bet a total of $1,500 while he was taking a break from competing in October for mental illness, but denied having a gambling problem.
“I learn from my Ls,” he wrote. “I know I was wrong But I’m getting 1 year lol.”
Some players are furious about the suspension. “A YEAR?!?!? That math ain’t mathing,” wrote Torrey Smith.
While others have pointed out the hypocrisy of the NFL, which has partnerships with gambling institutions. “Suspending a player for a marginal gambling offense while negotiating multi-billion $$ deals with gambling entities,” Marshall Newhouse pointed out.
“Every year the NFL tells the players we CAN NOT BET ON GAMES. It doesn’t matter that the league is in partnership with gambling and betting companies,” Robert Griffin III expanded. “The NFL will always protect the integrity of the game and its pockets. Calvin Ridley messed around and found out.”
Ridley can appeal the suspension by filing a notice within three days from the letter, or can wait to apply for reinstatement until Feb. 15, 2023.