Calvin Ridley suspended for violating NFL gambling rules
Coming into the offseason for the Atlanta Falcons, one thing on most fans’ minds was the status of receiver Calvin Ridley.
Ridley — who stepped away from the team prior to the loss against the Carolina Panthers on Halloween citing mental well-being — hasn’t been seen or heard from since outside of a brief Twitter exchange.
Now, all that has gone out the window for at least the 2022 season.
In a shocking turn of events, the NFL today announced that Ridley is being suspended for the entire 2022 season after it was discovered during a recent investigation that the 27-year-old was gambling on games during the 2021 season.
It has not been made clear yet whether or not Ridley plans to appeal.
In a statement made on the Falcons official team website:
"“We were first made aware of the league’s investigation on Feb. 9. We have cooperated fully with the investigation since receiving notice and supporting 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.”"
That said, it’s unclear whether or not he was gambling on the results of other games happening in the league or on actual games played by the Falcons. However, he was making parlay bets through the usage of his cell phone.
Let’s be clear here: we all were wondering about what exactly was going on with the team and contact with Calvin Ridley. In fact, some did question the legitimacy of the mental health claim, which is still not acceptable, even if now some light has been shed on the subject.
That said, we cannot justify this act by Ridley while he was away from the team. Does anyone still remember what happened to the 1919 Chicago White Sox? Shoeless Joe Jackson is still banished from the Hall of Fame, and he’s probably the only one who didn’t gamble on the World Series.
Or what about Pete Rose? Baseball’s all-time hits leader is still out of Cooperstown, and despite the rampant clamor for him to be there, he probably won’t.
Getting back to Ridley’s situation, this is the worst possible outcome of his situation. Instead of potentially being a tradable asset Ridley is now unable to play football until at least 2023 when his fifth-year option that was picked up takes effect (also saving the Falcons $12 million in cap space this year).
In all honesty, though, after this news, it’s hard to justify bringing back Calvin Ridley to the team. Especially if those parlays included Atlanta in them.