Calvin Ridley Suspended for 2022 Season

Falcons WR Calvin Ridley
Falcons WR Calvin Ridley
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Offseason - A bit of a stunning story here, as Calvin Ridley has been suspended by the NFL for "at least" the entire 2022 season for betting on games during the 2021 season. Ridley took time off last year due to mental health issues and apparently bet on games during November 2021 while he was on the non-football illness list. The league's announcement says there is no evidence that Ridley used any inside information to help his betting decisions, and the Falcons were unaware of Ridley's activities.

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28 comments, Last at 08 Mar 2022, 6:07pm

3 To be fair to the NFL

Yes, even the NFL.

It fought for six years in court to uphold the federal statute prohibiting sports gambling other than in Nevada.


4 While two of its member…

While two of its member owners bought sports gambling sites and a third moved a team to Las Vegas.

This is sort of like suspending a member of the Vancouver Kushbuds for cannabis...

9 Well…

… as a Lions fan (I sympathize and am rooting for them) you must have franchise flashbacks to Alex Karras:)  Great guy!  I read that Alex said he named his son Pete after Pete Rozelle to remind himself he’d made a mistake.

6 Forget it, Jake. It's the Falcons.

What other NFL team would have a player take himself off the field and then proceed to bet on his team to win?  Did his absence suddenly make the team better?

12 Demented Puritanism

Lane Johnson - a SECOND violation for PEDs - 10 game ban

La'el Collins - tries to bribe a drug tester - 5 game ban

Calvin Ridley - places a modest bet on games in which he has no role - 17 game ban

I can see the purpose in having a blanket ban on players betting, but is it 3 times worse than bribing a drug tester? 70% worse than literally cheating to improve your on-field performance (which will affect the results of plays and games) twice?

18 No, it isn't (in my opinion)…

No, it isn't (in my opinion), but the NFL have been very clear that they do not care about performance enhancing drugs.  The league's testing and enforcement policies are not serious, and do not significantly inhibit the use of performance enhancing drugs in the sport.  The NFL clearly believe that letting players get away with drug taking makes for a better product on the field.

The international standard for drug cheats in sport is a two year ban for first offences, and lifetime ban for multiple offences.  Offences like missing a test, attempting to bribe etc. are treated as failed tests.

Following this standard, both Collins and Johnson should be at least facing 34 game bans - with Johnson probably banned for life (in effect, given his age).  So, it's not that Ridley is being unfairly punished, but that PED cheats are getting off far too lightly

21 The concern, I think, is…

In reply to by LondonMonarch

The concern, I think, is players throwing games, which could more effectively swing the outcome of a game more than one guy juicing.

There's still hypocrisy here -- tanking is effectively the same as throwing games, and that's practically encouraged.

28 Not Throwing Games

Of course match fixing is a whole different ballgame (literally) but this is not a case of a player betting on his team to lose a game he is playing in. He was away from the team not playing, and placed (by his standards) a small bet on the Falcons to win.

I am chillaxed about him being punished for it, but the scale compared to (eg) repeat drug cheats is mad.

22 There's still lots of time…

There's still lots of time. These are receivers. Ridley would have been only the slot guy on the 2021 team. Ruggles killed someone! Brown apparently committed multiple felonies, and that wasn't even what got him on the team!

19 I can only imagine he was…

I can only imagine he was incredibly stupid in not covering his tracks. I've worked in the gambling industry and this profile of bet (modest sized parlays, on core markets) would never normally trigger any degree of suspicion or investigation.

Which is all to say there are probably several other players betting on games, but going about it in a more discrete fashion (e.g. asking a friend to place the bet for them). 


25 The various betting…

The various betting companies monitor for players and coaches making bets.  For all the snark about the league having partnerships with sports books, this is one of the big benefits: they get proactively notified by them when a player makes a bet.

24 There's a certain irony to…

There's a certain irony to ESPN covering this while every other linked article is basically a gambling odds story.

26 Yup. I'm not arguing that…

Yup. I'm not arguing that players should be allowed to bet, but given how the NFL and sports media in general have genuflected at the altar of sports betting, insisting that it should be at everyone's fingertips, this is the inevitable result. It was easier to cede the moral high ground to the leagues when they had no connection to gambling and players who bet were doing it through shady, illegal bookies.

27 The league's announcement…

The league's announcement says there is no evidence that Ridley used any inside information to help his betting decisions

I have no doubt that the league was more concerned about this than the possibility that Ridley was interfering with the competitive integrity of games. I mean, throwing games would be one thing, but cutting into the house edge for the gambling sites would be unconscionable to them.