NFL Indefinitely Bans Calvin Ridley Over Gambling Scandal

NFL Indefinitely Bans Calvin Ridley Over Gambling Scandal
Image © Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
✍️ Written by
Frank Weber
🗓 Updated
May 19th 2023

Atlanta Falcons star Wide Reciever Calvin Ridley received a suspension from the NFL yesterday (for at least a year's length) after he was found to have gambled on the 2021 season.

In the NFL’s statement yesterday, they said Ridley had bet on a series of games over a five-day stretch in November 2021, when Ridley was on the non-football-related injury list. Ridley actually missed a majority of last season, playing only 6 weeks before taking the rest of the season off for mental health issues.

A series of tweets posted by Ridley after his suspension was announced on Monday seem to offer his side of the story. “I bet 1500 total I don’t have a gambling problem,” Ridley tweeted. "I know I was wrong But I'm getting 1 year lol."

The NFL determined that Ridley had placed a multilegged parlay bet involving three, five, and eight games that included his Atlanta Falcons to win. This was all done through a legal mobile sportsbook.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is taking this very seriously, saying “For decades, gambling on NFL games has been considered among the most significant violations of league policy warranting the most substantial sanction.” Goodell went on to thank Ridley for his cooperation, reporting that “I acknowledge and commend you for your promptly reporting for an interview, and for admitting your actions."

While the allegations are heavy, the NFL reported that there is no evidence that Ridley was actively impacting the outcome of any games. They also found no evidence of anyone within the organization knowing of his actions.

So I understand this is bad–Ridley broke the rules and deserves to be punished. At the same time, if we’re being honest, the NFL is setting an interesting precedent with this heavy suspension. Just take a look at this:

  • 2014: Adrian Peterson was suspended for a year after being found guilty of beating his son with a stick.
  • 2015: Greg Hardy was suspended for 10 games (which was later reduced to FOUR) after he broke the league's personal conduct policy due to domestic abuse charges.
  • 2015: Green Bay Packers tight end Andrew Quarless is suspended for only 2 games after video surfaces of him firing a weapon outside of a nightclub during an argument with a woman.
  • 2016: Ezekiel Elliot was suspended for 6 games due to domestic violence charges.
  • 2019: Kareem Hunt was suspended for 8 games after a video surfaced of him violently kicking a woman.

And now all of a sudden, we’re indefinitely banning Calvin Ridley for…legally betting on a game while he was out on injured reserve?

Again, I understand that he deserves to be suspended. But indefinitely suspending Ridley for this, while failing to commit harsher punishment on any of the aforementioned players, creates a nasty precedent that the NFL will have to deal with for years on end.

Add on the fact that the NFL has sponsor deals with FOX Bet, BetMGM, PointsBet, and WynnBet, all of a sudden we have a weird double standard that's hard to navigate. That would be like the MLB signing a sponsor deal with the top steroid company in the country.

It’s interesting how the league can profit off of sports betting, but the players themselves–no matter how far removed they are from the game–can’t.

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