Falcons' Calvin Ridley banned by NFL for 2022 over gambling claims

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley has been suspended by the NFL for the 2022 season for betting on league games during his sabbatical from football last year.

The alleged incidents took place over a five-day period while Ridley was away from the team last November, according to the NFL. The league’s investigation did not find any evidence that the 27-year-old used insider information or that any games were compromised, nor was there any indication that Falcons coaches, staffers or players were aware of Ridley’s gambling.

Ridley did admit to betting $1,500, but claimed on Twitter that he wasn’t even watching football at the time of the alleged violation. The native announced in October of 2021 that he was stepping away from football to focus on his mental health, and had not yet returned to the team.

‘I bet 1500 total I don’t have a gambling problem,’ Ridley tweeted Monday.

‘I couldn’t even watch football at that point,’ he added.

Ridley will forfeit $11.1 million in salary for 2022 and can apply for reinstatement on or after February 15, 2023.

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley has been suspended by the NFL for the 2022 season for betting on league games during his sabbatical from football last year

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley has been suspended by the NFL for the 2022 season for betting on league games during his sabbatical from football last year

The alleged incidents took place over a five-day period while Ridley was away from the team last November, according to the NFL. The league's investigation did not find any evidence that the 27-year-old used insider information or that any games were compromised, nor was there any indication that Falcons coaches, staffers or players were aware of Ridley's gambling. Ridley did admit to betting $1,500, but claims he wasn't even watching football at the time of the alleged violation. The Florida native announced in October of 2021 that he was stepping away from football to focus on his mental health, and had not yet returned to the team

The alleged incidents took place over a five-day period while Ridley was away from the team last November, according to the NFL. The league’s investigation did not find any evidence that the 27-year-old used insider information or that any games were compromised, nor was there any indication that Falcons coaches, staffers or players were aware of Ridley’s gambling. Ridley did admit to betting $1,500, but claims he wasn’t even watching football at the time of the alleged violation. The Florida native announced in October of 2021 that he was stepping away from football to focus on his mental health, and had not yet returned to the team

On Monday, the NFL shared a portion of commissioner Roger Goodell's disciplinary 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,' Goodell wrote to Ridley

On Monday, the NFL shared a portion of commissioner Roger Goodell’s disciplinary 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,’ Goodell wrote to Ridley

On Monday, the NFL shared a portion of commissioner Roger Goodell’s disciplinary 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,’ Goodell wrote to Ridley. 

‘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 calsilkscreen for admitting your actions.’

The Falcons also released a statement on Monday.

‘We were first made aware of the league’s investigation on February 9,’ the team explained. ‘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.’

The NFL traditionally kept all gambling interests at a distance, but reversed course in recent years following the US Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, opening the door for most states to legalize sports gambling.

In 2021, the league’s partnerships with gambling corporations totaled $1.8 billion in sponsorship revenue, according to the .

A former first-round pick out of Alabama, Ridley was a second-team All-Pro in 2020 and has 238 career receptions for 3,342 yards and 28 touchdowns. He has earned nearly $12 million over his four-year career, according to Spotrac.com. 

A former first-round pick out of Alabama, Ridley was a second-team All-Pro in 2020 and has 238 career receptions for 3,342 yards and 28 touchdowns. He has earned nearly $12 million over his four-year career, according to Spotrac.com

A former first-round pick out of Alabama, Ridley was a second-team All-Pro in 2020 and has 238 career receptions for 3,342 yards and 28 touchdowns. He has earned nearly $12 million over his four-year career, according to Spotrac.com

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