When the Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley was caught betting on N.F.L. games last year, the NFL suspended him for at least the entire 2022 season. It was one of the harshest punishments a major American sports league has handed out since the N.F.L. rushed to embrace the expansion of legalised wagering on games in the early 2000s.
Ridley, 27, made bets on N.F.L. games over a five-day period in late November 2021 when he was away from the team to work on his mental health, according to Commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement released on Monday.
“There was no indication that any inside knowledge was exploited or that any game was compromised in any manner,” league commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement after the probe. “There was also no evidence to indicate that any of his teammates, coaches, or other players were aware of his betting activities,” the report states.
Nonetheless, Goodell said that the “purity of the game” is critical to the league’s performance, and Ridley’s actions placed that integrity in jeopardy.
Between Nov. 23 and Nov. 28, Ridley used the Hard Rock Sportsbook mobile app to make three parlay bets during his stay in Florida, according to a source with knowledge of the situation who asked not to be identified because the information was confidential. The National Football League was notified by Genius Sports, which monitors sports betting data for the league, that a player could be behind the wagers. The National Football League’s inquiry discovered that Ridley’s wagers included a betting on the Falcons to win the Super Bowl.
Soon after the National Football League issued the penalty, Ridley said on Twitter: “I bet 1500 total that I don’t have a gambling problem,” later clarifying that he couldn’t watch football at that moment because of the suspension.
“I realise I was wrong, but I’m only getting one year,” he said on Facebook.
On Monday, Ridley’s representative, Ben Setas, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment on the situation.
Because of a mental health problem, Ridley revealed on October 31, 2021, that he was stepping down from his position with the squad.
It has been nearly two decades since the Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law that had restricted sports betting to primarily Nevada, and since then, the thick walls that had long separated professional football and the gambling industry have come tumbling down. In the wake of decades of opposition to sports betting, the NFL has struck large sponsorship agreements with casinos, the Raiders play their home games in Las Vegas, and the draught will be held there in April — as will the Super Bowl in 2024.
Last season, commercials for sports betting were smothered the television broadcasts of National Football League games in an attempt to recruit new consumers.
After hiring Genius Sports in April 2021, the National Football League (NFL) has enlisted the company’s services to provide “comprehensive integrity services to monitor betting” on all N.F.L. games, as well as “education programmes to ensure that the N.F.L.’s high standard for integrity is maintained.”
It is the league’s responsibility to give training to more than 17,000 N.F.L. staff, including game day workers and stadium employees. The most important point is that you should not gamble on NFL games or give out inside knowledge about the games. Players, on the other hand, are permitted to wager on other sports.