/  03.08.2022

On Monday, the NFL announced that Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridely had been suspended for the remainder of the season for games he bet on during 2021, ESPN reports. The 27-year-old player has the option to petition for reinstatement on or after Feb. 15, 2023. Ridley can also appeal the suspension if he files a notice within three days contingent off a negotiated agreement. However, there’s been no word yet if he plans to take that route.

The league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, notified Ridley of his suspension in a letter saying “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.”

He continued, “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 league claims Ridley’s gambling took place over a five-day period in November when he was placed on the non-football injury list following mental health concerns. On October 31, the former Crimson Tide player announced he was taking a hiatus to focus on self care.

“These past few weeks have been very challenging and as much as I’d like to be on the field competing with my teammates, I need to step away from football at this time and focus on my mental well being, ” Ridley wrote.

He added, “This will help me be the best version of myself now and in the future. I want to thank my teammates, the entire Atlanta Falcons organization, our great fans, my friends, and my family for all of their support during this time.”

As of now, the NFL’s investigation has yielded no concrete evidence that his off the field choices compromised any games. They have not specified which games in particular the wideout gambled on.

Following his suspension, Ridley took to Twitter and said, “I bet [$1,500] total I don’t have a gambling problem.”

 

Subsequent tweets that followed included “I know I was wrong But I’m getting 1 year lol” and “If you know me you know my character.”

 

The Falcons have since responded to the suspension and said, “We were first made aware of the league’s investigation on [February] 9. We have cooperated fully with the investigation since receiving notice and support the league’s findings and actions.”

They continued, “We are moving forward in the 2022 season with the decision that was made. With the decision that was made by the NFL, any further questions on the investigation should be directed to the league office.”

Only one other player has been suspended by the league for betting on games. In 2018, a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court gave open door for all states to allow commercial sports betting. However, former defensive back Josh Shaw of the Arizona Cardinals followed a similar path to Ridley and was suspended in 2019. Shaw was also listed on the injured reserve list.

With Ridley out, the Falcons will have rookie receiver Frank Darby listed on the 53-player roster.

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