NFL suspends Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley for at least 2022 season for betting on games

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Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley has been suspended for at least the 2022 season after betting games in 2021.

The NFL released a statement Monday announcing its suspension, saying Ridley bet on games over a five-day span in November 2021 while on the non-football injury list to address his mental health.

Ridley stepped away from football on Halloween, saying he needed to get his personal life in order.

In a series of tweets Monday after the suspension was announced, Ridley said he bet $1,500 in total and “I don’t have a gambling problem.” He also tweeted that he couldn’t even watch football when he made the bets. He added that he was just going to ‘be healthier when I get back’ and that ‘I know I was wrong but I’m 1 year old lol’.

The NFL determined Ridley placed multiple bets involving three, five and eight games that included the Falcons to be won via his out-of-state mobile device, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The NFL learned of Ridley’s betting activity through his connections within the legal sports betting industry, a source told ESPN’s David Purdum.

“There is nothing more fundamental to the success of the NFL – and to the reputation of everyone associated with our league – than maintaining the integrity of the game,” wrote NFL Commissioner Roger. Goodell in a letter to Ridley informing him of his suspension. “It is the responsibility of every player, coach, owner, playing official and everyone else employed in the league. Your actions endanger the integrity of the game, threaten to damage public confidence in professional football and potentially damage the reputation of your teammates across the NFL.

“For decades, betting on NFL games has been considered one of the most significant violations of league policy warranting the heaviest penalty. In your case, I acknowledge you and commend you on your quick report for an interview and for admitting your actions.”

The NFL said its investigation found no evidence that Ridley used inside information or “that a game was compromised in any way.” There was also no evidence that any of the Falcons coaches, staff or players knew about his betting activity.

“Your actions have endangered the integrity of the game, threatened to damage public confidence in professional football, and potentially undermined the reputation of your fellow players throughout the NFL.”

Roger Goodell, in a letter to Calvin Ridley

The earliest Ridley can seek reinstatement is Feb. 15, 2023, the NFL said.

He can also appeal the suspension by filing a notice within three days, in accordance with the collective agreement. It is not known whether he appealed the sentence.

Several NFL teams have contacted the Falcons in recent weeks to inquire about the Ridley trade, and each time Atlanta refused to enter into good faith talks, knowing the problems awaiting their standout receiver. sources told Schefter.

The Falcons said they were preparing for the 2022 season as if Ridley wouldn’t be with them.

“We were first notified of the league’s investigation on February 9. We have cooperated fully with the investigation since receiving notice of it and support the league’s findings and actions,” it said. the team said in a statement. “We are moving forward into the 2022 season with the decision that has been made. With the decision that has been made by the NFL, any further questions about the investigation should be directed to the league office.”

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David Purdum says the NFL was able to uncover Calvin Ridley’s betting on games because of the league’s relationship with regulated sports betting.

Ridley is the second player to be suspended for betting on NFL games since 2018, when a U.S. Supreme Court ruling paved the way for all states to allow sports betting. Then-Arizona Cardinals defensive back Josh Shaw was suspended in 2019 after the NFL learned he bet on championship games while injured.

Since the Supreme Court ruling, 30 states and the District of Columbia have launched legal sports betting markets.

With Ridley now unavailable, Atlanta has one wide receiver from last season’s 53-man roster under contract — rookie Frank Darby.

Ridley’s contract will last until 2023 and will come off the books for 2022, opening up $11.1 million in salary cap for the Falcons.

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