September 27, 2022

NFL suspends Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley at least full 2022 season for gambling

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley has been suspended for betting on NFL games. (Adam Hunger/AP)

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley indefinitely on Monday, through at least the conclusion of the 2022 season, for betting on NFL games in 2021.

The league said the activity took place during a five-day period in late November 2021 while Ridley was not with the team and was away from the club’s facility on the non-football illness list.

Ridley’s bet did involve the Falcons, according to NFL Network. Specifically, the NFL determined that Ridley placed multi-legged parlay bets involving three, five and eight games that included the Falcons to win, per ESPN and NFL Network.

Ridley placed a legal mobile bet in Florida with Hard Rock’s app, per CBS Sports. And they notified Genius Sports, who oversees betting integrity for the NFL. The NFL said its investigation uncovered no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way. The league also said there is no evidence suggesting any awareness by coaches, staff, teammates, or other players of his betting activity.

Ridley’s suspension comes less than one year after the NFL officially partnered with sportsbooks Caesar’s, DraftKings and FanDuel, embracing and promoting gambling on the game like never before after moving the Raiders franchise to Las Vegas.

“I bet 1500 total I don’t have a gambling problem,” Ridley, 27, tweeted after his suspension was announced. “I couldn’t even watch football at that point. I know I was wrong But I’m getting 1 year lol.”

In a letter to Ridley notifying him of his suspension, Goodell wrote:

“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 may petition for reinstatement on or after Feb. 15, 2023.  Pursuant to the NFL-NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement, he may appeal his suspension by filing notice within three days.

Per ESPN, Ridley is the fifth NFL player suspended for gambling, following Alex Karras (1963), Paul Hornung (1963), Art Schlichter (1983) and Josh Shaw (2019).