NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley through at least the end of the 2022 season for betting on NFL games last season while he was away from his team, and it seems like everyone on social media had something to say.
Despite the NFL stating its investigation found no evidence to show any inside information was used in the bets, no game was “compromised in any way,” and no evidence suggests anyone from his team or other players knew of his betting activity, Goodell had strong words for Ridley in the letter sent to notify him of the suspension.
“There is nothing more fundamental to the NFL’s success – and to the reputation of everyone associated with our league – than upholding the integrity of the game,” Goodell said. “This is the responsibility of every player, coach, owner, game official, and anyone else employed in the league. 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.”
Starting with The Ringer‘s Rodger Sherman, who appears to have started the betting joke of Ridley’s situation that was copied repeatedly.
CBS Sports’ John Breech made light of the situation as the league has multiple betting partners.
Former NFL cornerback Charles James II took to social media to say what we were all thinking.
While everyone was tweeting about his situation, Ridley tweeted he couldn’t watch football when everything is said to have gone down and that he bet a total of $1,500. He also said he learns from his losses.
Not everyone thought Ridley’s tweets were a good idea, though.
The Athletic‘s Lindsay Jones reports Ridley placed three parlays (3-, 5- and 8-teams) and bet on the Falcons to win. All of the bets were placed between Nov. 23-28 and the Falcons beat Jacksonville on Nov. 28.
Jones reported that Ridley used the short-lived Hard Rock Sportsbook app from Florida, his activity was flagged and reported to Genius Sports — the firm that handles sports betting data and info for the NFL — and the Falcons were eventually made aware on Feb. 9.
“For decades, gambling on NFL games has been considered among the most significant violations of league policy warranting the most substantial sanction,” Goodell said in the suspension letter to Ridley. “In your case, I acknowledge and commend you for your promptly reporting for an interview, and for admitting your actions.”
Ridley tweeted on Oct. 31 that the past few weeks had been challenging for him and he would be taking time away from football to focus on his mental wellbeing. OutKick previously reported the former first-round pick had been absent from Week 8’s matchup against the Carolina Panthers due to a “personal matter” and previously missed a Week 5 game against the New York Jets for the same reason.
He didn’t return to the team after stepping away on Halloween and was placed on the NFI list on Nov. 5, the Falcons said. He played only five games for the team in 2021.
Ridley may apply for reinstatement to the league starting on Feb. 15, 2023, and he has a right to appeal the suspension.
If Ridley takes the one-year punishment as his tweets suggest, he may have inadvertently solved the Falcons cap concerns the team had as of Monday.
The $11.1 million he’s was set to make comes off the books for the 2022 season and tolls to the 2023 season, PFF’s Ari Meirov reports.
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