Calvin Ridley suspended for gambling

The NFL cares about nothing more than the integrity of its product. Most people would roll their eye’s at you if you tried to convince them money isn’t at the very top of that list.

However, the truth is that the integrity of the game and profit go hand in hand. The NFL is such a fantastic product because football is an entertaining game, but most of all, it is the idea that no one knows what will happen on any given Sunday.

The suspense of an NFL season makes it the most viewed television broadcast in the country by a wide margin.

It is like watching a reality TV show for six months, but none of it is scripted and anything goes.

That is why the NFL is vigilant about upholding its strict ban on sports gambling, which players, staff and officials agree to follow.

When Roger Goodell decided to hand out a year-long suspension for sports gambling to Calvin Ridley, the third-year receiver for the Atlanta Falcons, it caught many off guard.

Ridley is just the second player to be suspended for gambling since Josh Shaw of the Las Vegas Raiders in 2019.

The reactions around the league were showing up all over social media. Players took to Twitter to push back on the length of the ban and some siding with the league.

Former Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III tweeted, “Every year the NFL tells the players WE CAN NOT BET ON GAMES.”

“It doesn’t matter that the league is in partnership with gambling and betting companies. The NFL will always protect the integrity of the game and its pockets. Calvin Ridley messed around and found out.”

Other players such as Marshall Newhouse, a current free agent, said, “Suspending a player for a marginal gambling offense while negotiating multi-billion dollar deals with gambling entities.”

The opinions ranged from supporting Ridley to thinking the suspension should have been multiple years.

The most common theme was the league’s players speaking on the hypocrisy the NFL shows by profiting off sports gambling while also handing out year-long suspensions to a player who bet on his team to win while he was away from the team.

The NFL has plenty of policies to ensure it isn’t easy for players and staff to get away with gambling. It is the NFL’s way of making sure the game is held to a gold standard. If they lose credibility to the fanbases, their pockets will get lighter, which is the last thing the owners want.

Roger Goodell has made many questionable decisions in the eye of the public, but his choice to make an example out of Calvin Ridley was the only option the league had. He was open and honest in his letter to Ridley.

“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. This [upholding] is the responsibility of every player, coach, owner, game official, and anyone else employed.”

“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,” Roger Goodell said.

Even though the circumstances of Ridley’s situation were relatively harmless, the league made an example out of him.

He bet on the Falcons, but he bet on them to win, so there was no worry of him having a teammate throw the game.

The brass of the NFL is sending a message to all players/coaches that they will not be lenient no matter the severity of the infraction.

The mistake Calvin Ridley made doesn’t only affect him, but he is leaving his teammates and organization in a tough spot with their depth at the wide receiver position.

As of today, the top wide receiver for the Falcons is Olamide Zaccheaus, who is an NFL talent, but would be better suited as a second or third option for Atlanta’s next quarterback.

Calvin Ridley took to Twitter as soon as the media released the news. “I know I was wrong, but I’m getting one year,” Ridley said. He also tweeted, “I bet 1500 total I don’t have a gambling problem.”

With the NFL now partnering up with legitimate sports gambling companies, it will be much easier for the league to catch any active players or coaches placing bets.

No matter how the players feel, the NFL will always do what it takes to uphold the integrity of their business.