NFL suspends Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley for 2022 season for betting on games

Calvin Ridley #18 of the Atlanta Falcons warms up prior to a preseason game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on August 21, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Michael Reaves | Getty Images

The National Football League suspended Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley through the 2022 season for betting on games, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Monday.

The league said Ridley, 27, bet on NFL games during a five-day period last November. During that time, Ridley was on the non-football illness list, indicating that he was addressing his mental well-being.

“There is nothing more fundamental to the NFL’s success — and to the reputation of everyone associated with our league — than upholding the integrity of the game,” Goodell wrote in a letter to Ridley.

“This is the responsibility of every player, coach, owner, game official and anyone else employed in the league. Your 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.”

The league said Ridley is eligible for reinstatement in February 2023. 

In a series of tweets following his suspension, Ridley said he bet $1,500 in total, adding, “I don’t have a gambling problem.”

Ridley is represented by agency SportsTrust Advisors. The firm didn’t immediately return a request for comment from CNBC.

Ridley has been with the Falcons for four seasons, and marked his best in 2020 when he notched nine touchdowns and 1,374 receiving yards.

His roughly $11 million salary for the 2022 season could face forfeiture, with his suspension falling under a “conduct detrimental” provision in the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement with players.

In a statement, the Falcons said they were first notified about the NFL’s probe into Ridley’s betting on Feb. 9 and “cooperated fully with the investigation since receiving notice and support the league’s findings and actions.”

“We are moving forward in the 2022 season with the decision that was made,” the Falcons added.

The NFL has an exclusive data rights deal with London-based data and technology firm Genius Sports valued at $100 million per year. As part of the deal, Genius provides its integrity services to monitor betting around NFL games and tracks suspicious activity.

Ridley’s suspension for betting on games comes more than two years since the previous one.

In November 2019, the NFL suspended defensive back Josh Shaw for the 2020 season for betting on games while he was with the Arizona Cardinals. Shaw was reinstated in March 2021. He is currently a free agent.

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