ATLANTA — Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley has been suspended for at least a year, with additional time possible, after betting on NFL games while away from the facility and on the non-football illness list last season, according to the National Football League.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that Ridley has been suspended indefinitely for the incident which occurred during a five-day period in November 2021.
The league investigated the incident involving Ridley betting on NFL games and said it found no evidence that any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way as a result of his actions. The NFL also said that no evidence was found suggesting any coaches, staff, teammates or other players were aware of Ridley's betting activities.
Goodell wrote the following in the suspension letter to Ridley:
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. 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. In your case, I acknowledge and commend you for your promptly reporting for an interview, and for admitting your actions.
The Falcons issued the following statement regarding his suspension:
We were first made aware of the league's investigation on Feb. 9. 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.
Last season, Ridley played in just five games with the Falcons, stepping away from the team on Oct. 31. At the time, Ridley issued a statement saying that he was stepping away to work on his mental well-being.
Just before the news of Ridley's suspension broke, multiple reports came out indicating the wide receiver was interested in being traded from the Falcons and getting a fresh start on a new team. Of the teams reportedly interested in Ridley were the New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns.
That reported interest is likely put to rest, at least for the time being, with Ridley out for a minimum of one year.
Ridley will be able to petition for reinstatement on or after Feb. 15, 2023. He may also appeal his suspension by filing a notice within the next three days.
After the league announced the suspension, Ridley took to social media and addressed the situation in an interesting way.
I bet 1500 total I don’t have a gambling problem— CALVIN RIDLEY (@CalvinRidley1) March 7, 2022
I couldn’t even watch football at that point— CALVIN RIDLEY (@CalvinRidley1) March 7, 2022
Just gone be more healthy when I come back— CALVIN RIDLEY (@CalvinRidley1) March 7, 2022
I know I was wrong But I’m getting 1 year lol— CALVIN RIDLEY (@CalvinRidley1) March 7, 2022
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