One of the Atlanta Falcons’ players – Calvin Ridley – has faced a suspension from the league for betting on games of the National Football League (NFL). The measure will see him miss the entire 2022 season.
At the beginning of the week, the NFL revealed that, according to its investigations, there was no evidence that Mr. Ridley had taken advantage of any inside information to place his bets or some of his coaches and teammates knew of his gambling. However, Commissioner Roger Goodell scolded the wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons for his actions in a letter notifying him of the suspension, saying that Ridley’s actions threatened to damage public confidence in the country’s professional football league, jeopardized the integrity of the game, and potentially tarnished the reputation of the player’s fellow players.
Mr. Ridley, in his turn, posted a number of tweets on March 7th, saying he did not have a gambling problem. He confessed that he placed bets totaling $1,500 and expressed disbelief in the length of his punishment.
As revealed by the National Football League’s investigation, the Atlanta Falcons receiver gambled over a period of 5 days at the end of November 2021. His gambling happened at a time when Ridley was on a voluntary break from football to take care of his mental health.
Calvin Ridley to Be Allowed to Apply for Reinstatement to the NFL
Calvin Ridley became part of the Atlanta Falcons in the first round of the 2019 National Football League’s Draft after a remarkable career at the University of Alabama. According to statistics, he caught 90 passes for almost 1,400 yards and 7 touchdowns over his third season as a professional NFL athlete, setting expectations high for 2021.
Unfortunately, the player struggled through the first 5 games of his team before making an official announcement of his voluntary break in October 2021. Considering the situation with his recent suspension from the game, his future currently remains uncertain. The last time when the NFL suspended a player for gambling was in 2019. That was Josh Shaw, an Arizona Cardinals’ cornerback, who had placed a bet against his team while being out for an injury. At the time, he was suspended for the entire 2020 season and got reinstated by the NFL in 2021.
The NFL noted that Mr. Ridley will be permitted to apply for reinstatement during the week after the Super Bowl in 2023. The collective bargaining agreement of the League gives him the right to appeal his suspension.
The National Football League had been extremely careful when it comes to association between the sport and gambling or fantasy football. The League’s efforts in direction of keeping the integrity of sport intact have even gone as far as filing a legal action to block the sports betting laws of New Jersey in 2012. Since then, however, that attitude has changed. In 2017, the NFL gave the green light to the move of Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas, where sports betting is legal.
After the US Supreme Court decided to lift the long-time federal ban on sports betting in 2018, various professional sports leagues, including the NFL, have been trying to get a piece of the newly-legalized form of gambling.