The National Football league has suspended star wide receiver Calvin Ridley for at least one season for betting on NFL games, the league announced on Monday.
The NFL said Ridley bet on NFL games during a five-day window in November 2021 when Ridley was not participating in team activities due to a non-football injury.
“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 statement. “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 NFL’s statement continued.
NFL players are not permitted to bet on NFL games, whether they are playing in them or not, according to the league’s Gambling Policy and comments from Roger Goodell.
Ridley’s team, the Atlanta Falcons, said it was made aware of the NFL’s investigation into Ridley last month, and cooperated fully. It said in a statement that the team has “cooperated fully with the investigation.”
Assuming the suspension is not overturned, Ridley will forfeit his $11.6 million salary for next season. Ridley theoretically would receive his salary the following season if he were to be reinstated.
Ridley responded to the suspension on Twitter, saying he only bet $1,500.
In 2018, the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), allowing for individual states to create legislation that regulation legal sports wagering.
The NFL has agreed to partnerships with several sportsbooks in the years since sports betting became legalized in some states, with brands like Caesars