As the NFL and other sports leagues have gone all-in on the legal sports gambling space, with massive sponsorship deals and constant ads during games, it has come with the continued caveat that players can’t partake in the action as it pertains to their sport.
Gambling controversies in sports aren’t anything new, from the Black Sox scandal to Pete Rose to Tim Donaghy, but with the money now being tied directly to the league, increased scrutiny comes with it. On Monday, word broke that the NFL had its first issue with a player not following those rules.
The league has suspended Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley for a year for gambling on NFL games during the season.
Here is the full release from the NFL on Calvin Ridley: https://t.co/VgLXUE0bDb pic.twitter.com/HR6YOjd2J0
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 7, 2022
According to Mike Garofolo of NFL Network, Ridley did wager on the Falcons while he was away from the team, but the investigation turned up no evidence of him using inside information or that his bet impact the game.
A source informed of the NFL's investigation into Calvin Ridley's gambling tells me the bets did involve the #Falcons.
The NFL's statement says the investigation "uncovered no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way."
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 7, 2022
That note is more important for an overall legal issue, as fixing a game is an actual crime while this is just Ridley breaking the NFL’s rules. The receiver responded to the suspension on Twitter shortly after it was announced.
I bet 1500 total I don’t have a gambling problem
— CALVIN RIDLEY (@CalvinRidley1) March 7, 2022
Ridley, unfortunately, finds himself in a position to be made an example out of by the NFL to dissuade any other players from doing the same, and now he finds himself out of a paycheck for a year.