The National Football League has suspended wide receiver Calvin Ridley for at least the entire 2022 season for betting on NFL games during the 2021 season.
The league announced Ridley suspended on Monday afternoon, saying the incident happened over a period of five days in late November 2021.
The NFL said Ridley, who currently plays for the Atlanta Falcons, was absent from the team at the time. Additionally, in the NFL’s statement, they said an “investigation has revealed no evidence that inside information was used or that a game was compromised in any way.
After the NFL announced Ridley’s indefinite suspension, the Falcons, too issued a statementt saying they were made aware of the league investigation on February 9. They said the team cooperated with the league and supported their findings. They also mentioned that the team is continuing its preparations for the 2022 NFL season and that “any further questions about the investigation should be directed to the league office.”
The bets, the NFL said, took place in November of last season when Ridley was away from the Falcons. Last season, Ridley only played five games. He left the team on October 31, citing mental health, said CBS Sports.
Ridley allegedly placed parlay bets on multiple games, some of which involved the Falcons, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
Following the announcement of his suspension for playing NFL games, Ridley posted several messages on Twitter. He insisted he was not a gambling addict, stating that he “bet 1500 in total”. He added that “I couldn’t even watch football at the time” and “I just went to be healthier when I got back.”
Ridley, in his social media posts, appeared to take responsibility for the behavior that led to his suspension, in writing: “I know I was wrong but I’m getting 1 year lol.”
The NFL said Ridley could seek reinstatement to the league after Feb. 15, 2023. The NFL, in its announcement, said Ridley had the right to appeal the suspension by filing notice within three days.
Ridley, who was drafted from Alabama in the first round by the Falcons in 2018, has just completed his fourth season in the NFL. For his career, according to ESPN, Ridley has 248 receptions for over 3,300 yards and 28 touchdowns.
Ridley, however, is not the first instance of an active player placing bets in recent history.
Josh Shaw, while on injured reserve as a member of the Arizona Cardinals in 2019, also placed bets on NFL games, according to NBC Sports. One of the games he allegedly placed a bet on involved the Cardinals. The NFL suspended Shaw for the entire 2020 season and was later reinstated in March 2021.