American Football player Calvin Ridley has been punished harshly by the NFL. On Monday, news came out that the Atlanta Falcons player has been banned for at least one year.
The 27-year-old American Football player has been banned for betting on his own sport, something that is strictly prohibited.
In the 2021 NFL season, Ridley is said to have made multiple bets on the sport he plays himself.
So far, there is only evidence that he gambled while he was not eligible to play at the time. He had been placed on the non-football injury list because of mental problems. As a result, he hardly played last season.
He still violated the applicable rules, as a result of which he is now suspended for at least one year. NFL players are not allowed to bet on NFL games.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell explained the suspension in an elaborate statement:
“There is nothing more fundamental to the success of the NFL – and to the reputation of everyone involved with our league – than upholding the integrity of the game.’’
Betting on Own Team
The bets would have taken place in the period from November 23 to 28, 2021. An interesting detail is that he also bet on his own team, the Atlanta Falcons.
The NFL said there was no reason to suggest that Ridley had used inside information or influenced the outcome of a game.
The NFL also said it was satisfied that no other members of the Falcons were involved in the matter.
Ridley can retire from the NFL on February 15, 2023, at the earliest. That means he has to miss the entire year since the Super Bowl takes place on February 12, 2023.
Due to his suspension, he also loses the right to salary. He was set to earn $11 million with the Falcons next season.
ESPN reporter Adam Schefter reported that several teams had tried in recent weeks to make a trade offer for the 27-year-old player, but the Falcons were aware of the NFL investigation and declined all offers.
Calvin Ridley took to Twitter later in the day with a comment expressing his dismay at the suspension:
I know I was wrong But I’m getting 1 year lol
— CALVIN RIDLEY (@CalvinRidley1) March 7, 2022
Ridley is the fifth player in NFL history to be banned for gambling.
In 1963, the league had its first betting scandal before sports betting was legal. After sports betting was legalized in some states in 2018, only one other player besides Ridley has been caught.
In 2019, Arizona Cardinals player Josh Shaw was banned for uploading his own player card as ID to place bets on sports.
In the United States, it is possible to legally bet on American Football matches. However, NFL players are prohibited from doing so during their active careers.