The NFL suspended Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley for the entirety of the 2022 season because he bet on NFL games while he was away from the team. And it turns out, Ridley could have just placed his wagers on other sports.
According to information obtained by ProFootballTalk, the league allows players to wager on sports other than the NFL.
“All NFL Personnel other than Players are further prohibited from placing, soliciting, or facilitating bets on any other professional (e.g., NBA, MLB, NHL, PGA, USTA, MLS), college (e.g., NCAA basketball), international (e.g., World Baseball Classic, World Cup), or Olympic sports competition, tournament or event,” the policy states.
Without saying so directly, the “other than Players” line in the policy confirms that the NFL allows its players to place bets on all other professional, college and international sports.
That includes, interestingly, college football. While players are, in most cases, fans of other leagues, most current NFL players maintain close ties with their alma mater. With that comes potential inside information to injuries and suspensions. The benefits of playing for Alabama just keep on growing, don’t they?
Furthermore, the NFL quickly noted to PFT that the policy was negotiated and is “protected” by the NFLPA, suggesting the league has its concerns with players gambling on other sports.
“Casual betting on other sports by players has always been permitted,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy elaborated, “but is not permitted by any league or club personnel.”
“All personnel and players are counseled to avoid associations with known gamblers. In addition, all personnel, including players, who incur gambling debt greater than $10,000 to any person or gambling-related enterprise must promptly notify the NFL Security Department,” McCarthy explains.
“NFL personnel, including players, are also reminded of their obligation to report violations or potential violations of the gambling policy, including improper approaches or solicitations by others, to the NFL Security Department or via the Protect the Shield hotline or website.”
Hard to see this ending well.
Anyway, when Calvin Ridley hits free agency, expect him to consider only those teams that play in states with legalized sports gambling.