Calvin Ridley suspended through at least 2022 for betting on NFL games

Mar 7, 2022, 2:22 PM | Updated: 2:25 pm

The NFL has suspended Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley through at least the 2022 season for betting on league games.

According to the NFL, Ridley bet on games over a five-day period in late November when he was not with the team and away from Atlanta’s facility on the non-football illness list.

The league adds that there was “no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way.” The NFL also did not find any evidence that suggests any of the Falcons’ coaches, staff, teammates or any other NFL players knew of Ridley’s gambling.

However, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports that Ridley did in fact bet on the Falcons and placed parlay bets using his cell phone.

CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones adds that Ridley was caught placing a bet in Florida with Hard Rock, which then notified Genius Sports that overlooks betting integrity in the NFL. Ridley reportedly placed three-, five- and eight-game parlays that included the Falcons.

“There is nothing more fundamental to the NFL’s success — to the reputation of everyone associated with our league — than upholding the integrity of the game,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a letter to Ridley. “This is the responsibility of every player, coach, owner, game official and everyone 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 Falcons issued a statement shortly after the suspension came down, adding they “have cooperated fully with the investigation since receiving notice and support the league’s findings and actions.”

Following the news of the suspension, Ridley divulged that he bet $1,500 and that he “doesn’t have a gambling problem” in a Twitter post.

Ridley has three days to appeal the suspension. He can petition for reinstatement on or after Feb. 15, 2023.

A day before the news came down of Ridley’s suspension, the wide receiver posted “I learn from my Ls” on Twitter.

Even before the suspension, Ridley’s future with the Falcons was in doubt. He sat out the final two months of the season after he was a last-minute scratch before the team’s 19-13 loss to Carolina on Oct. 31.

On that day, Ridley explained his absence when he wrote on his Twitter account “I need to step away from football at this time and focus on my mental well being.”

Ridley was set to enter the final year of his rookie contract after the team picked up his fifth-team option this past April.

The Falcons’ 2018 first-round draft pick had 90 catches for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns in 2020. Ridley was expected to be quarterback Matt Ryan’s top playmaker after Julio Jones was traded to Tennessee before the 2021 season. But Ridley had only 31 receptions for 281 yards and two touchdowns in his shortened season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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