Calvin Ridley: ‘I don’t have a gambling problem’

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Atlanta WR Calvin Ridley has denied he has a gambling problem after being suspended by the NFL for the ENTIRETY of the 2022 season for betting on games.

Ridley took to social media Monday to hit back after the news came down that he would be forced to sit out next season. This after he missed most of 2021 following his decision to step away from the game to look after his own mental wellbeing.

Calvin Ridley: ‘I bet 1500 total’

Posting on Twitter, Ridley said: “I bet 1500 total I don’t have a gambling problem.”

His protest came just minutes after the news of his suspension broke, via a statement from the league. It said Ridley placed bets during a five-day period in late November 2021, when he was away from the club’s facility on the non-football illness list.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said in his letter to Ridley notifying him of the suspension: “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 takes hard line

“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.

“For decades, gambling on NFL games has been considered among the most significant violations of league policy warranting the most substantial sanction. In your case, I acknowledge and commend you for your promptly reporting for an interview, and for admitting your actions.”

Ridley will not be able to apply for reinstatement to the league until February 2023, and Goodell’s hard line is unsurprising given the legalization of sports betting in the U.S. and the fact the NFL now has several lucrative partnerships with online sportsbooks.

The Atlanta star has so far racked up 3342 receiving yards in 49 career games, but it will now likely be at least 2023 before we see him suited up again in anger.

Is the Ridley suspension fair?

Okay, time for some OddsCritic analysis here folks (the clue is in the name). And we call BS – not about the suspension per se – but absolutely the severity of it.

This is a league remember that has been known to suspend players for anything from a couple of games to 6 games in recent years for beating, or allegedly beating, women. So 17 games for placing a parlay bet on a mobile phone when you’re not on an active roster and you have mental health issues seems pretty out of whack to us.

We get why Goodell comes down hard on any hint of the league’s integrity being at risk. Also he has huge partnership deals with sportsbooks, so that narrative is pretty obvious. And money talks, right?

But fair? Don’t talk to us about fair. This suspension is way too excessive, and the incident in question came days after Ridley had stepped away from pro football to look after his mental wellbeing.

Talk about kicking a man when he’s down = nice one Rog…