NFL Suspends Atlanta Falcons’ Calvin Ridley Over Five-Day Betting Spree

  • An NFL investigation revealed Ridley bet on games over a five-day period last year
  • While on the NFI list, Ridley placed parlay bets on games that included the Falcons
  • The earliest the wide receiver can petition for reinstatement is February 15, 2023
  • Ridley stepped away from the team in October, citing mental health reasons
Atlanta Falcons helmet
Wide receiver Calvin Ridley won’t suit up for the Atlanta Falcons in 2022 after the NFL suspended him for betting on games over five days last year. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Betting while on NFI list

The NFL has suspended Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley for at least the 2022 season after an investigation revealed he bet on games over a five-day period in 2021.

betting spree took place in November

According to an NFL news release published on Monday, the former first-round pick’s betting spree took place in November. Ridley was on the franchise’s non-football illness (NFI) list for mental health reasons at the time.

The NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo shared the league’s official press release via Twitter:

According to senior NFL reporter for CBBS Sports Jonathan Jones, the investigation revealed Ridley placed parlay bets on his mobile via Hard Rock in Florida. This included Falcons games. Jones said “Hard Rock […] notified Genius Sports, who oversees betting integrity for the NFL.”

The NFL said its investigation did not reveal that any match-fixing took place. Officials also confirmed there was “no evidence coaches, staff, teammates, or other players were aware of Ridley’s betting.”

Paying the price

The earliest the former Alabama Crimson Tide star can petition for reinstatement is February 15, 2023. League officials have also confirmed that Ridley’s contract will toll until 2023 and “come off the books for 2022, opening up $11.1m in salary-cap room for the Falcons.”

Ridley took to Twitter Monday to address the news of his suspension:

WFAN 101.9 FM host Craig Carlton replied to Ridley in cut-throat fashion. He said: “The amount doesn’t make you an addict at all — risking $11m in this year’s salary for a $1500 parlay might.”

undermined the reputations of your fellow players”

The official press release stated that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote to Ridley about his suspension. The Commissioner said the receiver’s “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.”

CBBS Sports’ Jones said that Ridley bet on the Falcons to win, a detail supposedly immaterial to the wide receiver’s suspension. In 2019, the NFL suspended Arizona Cardinals defensive back Josh Shaw for placing multiple bets. Unlike Ridley, Shaw staked money on his team to lose.

An unclear future

In a Monday news release, Atlanta Falcons officials said they received news of the NFL’s investigation on February 9 and “cooperated fully.”

Ridley already had a hazy future with the Falcons after playing just five games in 2021 before stepping away from the franchise in October, citing mental health reasons. He failed to return to the team and ended up on the NFI list from November 5.

Over his four seasons, Ridley’s NFL stats include 248 receptions for 3,342 yards and 28 touchdowns.