Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley has been suspended for at least the 2022 season after gambling on games in 2021, ESPN reports. NFL players are prohibited from betting on games.
Ridley gambled on NFL games, including his own team, while he was away from the team for mental health reasons.
In an official statement released on Monday, the league said that Ridley gambled on NFL games over a five-day period back in November 2021.
Following an investigation, the NFL determined that Ridley “placed multi-egged parlay bets involving three, five, and eight games that included the Falcons to win via his mobile device out of state,” a source close to the situation told ESPN.
Ridley's betting history was discovered through the NFL's relationships within the legal sports betting industry.
Also, the NFL said its investigation didn't offer any evidence that Ridley had used inside information or "that any game was compromised in any way." There also was no evidence that any of the Falcons' coaches, staff or players were aware of his betting activity.
"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," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a letter to Ridley notifying him of his suspension. "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.”
"For decades, gambling on NFL games has been considered among the most significant violations of league policy warranting the most substantial sanction,'' Godell continued. “In your case, I acknowledge and commend you for your promptly reporting for an interview, and for admitting your actions."
Ridley took to Twitter to share his side of the story.
In a series of tweets, he claimed that he bet $1,500 and that he didn't have a gambling problem. He also tweeted that he couldn't even watch football at the time he made the bets adding that he's going to "be more healthy when I come back" and that "I know I was wrong But I'm getting 1 year lol."
The Falcons stated that they were preparing for the upcoming season as if Ridley were unavailable.
"We were first made aware of the league's investigation on Feb. 9,“ the team’s statement read. “ We have cooperated fully with the investigation since receiving notice and support the league's findings and actions. 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."
According to the collective bargaining agreement, Ridley can appeal the suspension by filing a notice within three day. It is not known if he has appealed his suspension.
The earliest Ridley can apply for reinstatement is Feb. 15, 2023, the NFL said.