The league suspended Atlanta Falcons’ wide receiver, Calvin Ridley, for at least the entire 2022 season after he was caught gambling on NFL games.
Some players, including former Dallas Cowboys star and Hall of Famer, Troy Aikman, believe one year might just be a little too harsh.
“I know the league takes gambling very seriously when players are gambling on games, and that was indicative in the suspension he [Ridley] got,” Aikman said during an interveiw with TMZ on March 11. “When you look at it against some of the other suspensions, I’d agree that it looks like an awful lot.”
Aikman continued with how the league has changed and actually welcomes gambling from spectators now.
“It seems like a bit much in today’s climate primarily because there was a time when the NFL was totally against the legalization of gambling on football games. And now, that’s a big part of the revenue stream for the NFL. On the one hand, you have the league encouraging everybody to gamble, and yet, here Calvin Ridley is suspended for an entire season.”
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New Report Shows Ridley Bet More Than He Said
Soon the news of Ridley’s suspension broke, Ridley took to Twitter to try and defend himself.
“I bet 1500 total I don’t have a gambling problem,” Ridley wrote in a tweet on March 7.
But according to a report from Brett Smiley of Sports Handle on March 11, the actual amount was “$3,900 across six separate bets on or including Falcons games.”
Additionally, “Five of the bets were parlays in which the Falcons’ moneyline was included, and one was a $1,300 in-game wager on the Falcons’ team total placed during the second half of a 21-14 victory by Atlanta [vs. Jacksonville] on Nov. 28.”
Smiley also reported that Ridley allegedly placed two more bets at $100 each on games not involving the Falcons, winning both, totaling $654.
And that football was not the only sport Ridley bet on as he placed 33 additional wagers on other sports for a total of more than $32,000, profiting $2,744.
Ridley opened the betting account on Nov. 23.
What the NFL’s Gambling Policy Says
The NFL’s gambling policy for league players, coaches, referees, etc. makes it clear about what is prohibited.
Section 2 discusses gambling activities and here is what the policy says under “Betting on Football:
“All NFL Personnel are prohibited from placing, soliciting, or facilitating any bet, whether directly or indirectly through a third-party on any NFL game, practice or other event. This includes betting on game outcome, statistics, scores, performance of any individual participant or any kind of “proposition bet” on which wagering is offered.”
As far as punishment goes, the policy states that it’s a “case-by-case” basis the banishment from the NFL for life is included:
“Apparent or alleged violations of this Policy by NFL Personnel will continue to be decided by the Commissioner or his designee on a case-by-case basis. Violations of this Policy constitute conduct detrimental to the League and will subject the involved Club and/or person(s) to appropriate disciplinary action by the Commissioner. Such disciplinary action may include, without limitation, severe penalties, up to and including a fine, termination of employment and/or banishment from the NFL for life.”
Ridley may petition for reinstatement on or after February 15, 2023.
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