N.F.L. Hands Calvin Ridley a 1-Year Suspension for Betting on Games

Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended for at least the entire 2022 season for gambling on N.F.L. games last year, one of the harshest penalties of its kind in league history.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement on Monday that Ridley, 27, placed bets on N.F.L. games during a five-day period in late November 2021 when he was away from the club to focus on his mental health.

The league “uncovered no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way,” Goodell said in the statement. “Nor was there evidence suggesting any awareness by coaches, staff, teammates or other players of his betting activity.”

Still, Goodell said, the “integrity of the game” is fundamental to the league’s success, and Ridley put that integrity at risk.

Ridley announced on Oct. 31, 2021, that he would step away from the team because of a mental health issue.

“These past few weeks have been very challenging and as much as I’d like to be on the field competing with my teammates, I need to step away from football at this time and focus on my mental well-being,” Ridley said in a statement posted to his social media accounts. “This will help me be the best version of myself now and in the future.”

Ridley, a four-year veteran, had his best N.F.L. season in 2020 when he caught 90 passes for 1,374 yards. Last season, he played in just five games. The team exercised his fifth-year option for the 2022 season last spring.

The Falcons said in a statement that they first learned of the league’s investigation on Feb. 9, and that they “support the league’s findings and actions.”

Ridley can appeal his suspension within three days and can ask to be reinstated on or after Feb. 15, 2023.

(Subcribe to BritishHerald : Samia Suluhu Hassan | Mama Samia- Madam President | British Herald Magazine Jan-Feb 2022)

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