The Atlanta Falcons were hit with terrible news on Monday regarding star wide receiver Calvin Ridley. The NFL dropped the hammer and suspended Ridley for one year due to betting on NFL games during the 2021 season.
For the Falcons, this is a significant blow. Ridley missed the latter part of the season while dealing with mental health issues, and the Falcons were hopeful of getting him back on the field for the 2022 season. But, it looks like Matt Ryan won’t have his No. 1 WR, and the Falcons have to try and pivot — although it doesn’t help that they are in a terrible financial situation.
Ridley bet a total of only $1,500, but his attempt to cash out on the bet will end up costing him $11 million in 2022 — and it could even cost him the rest of his NFL career.
NFL drops the hammer on Calvin Ridley after he bet on a parlay involving the Falcons
The NFL isn’t playing around with sports betting and Ridley is now out indefinitely — although he could decide to appeal.
While fans questioned the decision by the NFL — especially because the league backs a lot of sports betting platforms — it had to be done. Yes, Ridley wasn’t playing the games when he placed the bet, but it still questions the integrity of the sport.
Ridley bet on a parlay involving the Falcons in the same week they faced the Jacksonville Jaguars, and by that time, he had already stepped away from the team to focus on his mental health.
Like it or not, the NFL handed down the decision, and now Ridley is out for 2022. He also won’t get his salary for that season, which gives Atlanta a bit more financial flexibility than they expected.
The Falcons WR will end up losing $11 million because of $1,500 worth of betting
Ridley’s decision to place that bet will prove costly for his bank account. Of course, it could change if the Falcons WR decides to appeal.
He wasn’t happy about the NFL’s decision and made known his thoughts on Twitter after the verdict came down.
Nonetheless, he is set to miss the 2022 season and lose out on that $11 million salary he was in line for. It might seem like a harsh punishment on the surface, but the league feels it is just, even if Ridley wasn’t playing in that game.
A few bets equivalent to $1,500 are now costing Ridley $11 million and an entire season in the NFL, which is even worse news considering he will be 29 years old the next time he suits up in the league — if he does.
Will Ridley’s betting incident be the final chapter of his NFL career?
The question now is, do teams even want to take a chance on Ridley after this?
Sure, sports betting has become the norm throughout the United States, and the NFL even promotes it. Sites such as FanDuel, DraftKings, and sportsbooks across the country are major beneficiaries of the new day in age.
But Ridley crossed the line, and it might scare off some teams. Was he throwing games? Probably not, although former NFL player and analyst Emmanuel Acho posted a video on Twitter — one that Acho got wrecked for. Shortly after, the video was taken down.
The bottom line is who knows if Ridley placed more bets that weren’t flagged. But the NFL is working hard to make sure they catch these types of cases.
It’s an unfortunate turn of events for both Ridley and the Falcons, and several teams had called Atlanta in recent weeks to inquire on the price for the former Alabama WR.
But, the Falcons refused to deal him, and they knew a punishment was going to be handed down at some point.
Now, the Falcons lose their top wide receivers but gain a bit of money to play with in free agency. Technically, Ridley is still under contract with the Falcons in 2023, although it will be interesting to see if they release him and call it a loss.
If that happens, it will be even more interesting to see whether or not an NFL team takes a chance on him after this betting incident.
Like it or not, he broke the rules, and Ridley just might have caught his final pass in the NFL.
How to get help: In the U.S., contact the National Council on Problem Gambling helpline at 1-800-522-4700