Wide receiver Calvin Ridley was sidelined for the entire 2022 NFL season after the league handed down a year-long suspension after he bet on football games.
An investigation revealed that Ridley placed bets on NFL games over a five-day period in November 2021 while he was away from the Atlanta Falcons.
Last November, the Falcons traded Ridley to the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for multiple future draft picks. The NFL fully reinstated Ridley in March, which made him eligible to participate in all team activities.
Ridley’s story served as a reminder of just how seriously the league takes its betting policy.
But in the recent weeks, several players have been suspended for violating that very policy.
Some of the violators bet on NFL games, while others placed wagers on football games that were not affiliated with the league. However, both acts are considered direct violations of the NFL’s gambling policy.
Earlier this week, Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said Ridley wants to be a resource for his teammates when it comes to following the NFL’s rules.
Meanwhile, Ridley mentioned that he was bothered by the suspensions.
“Yeah, it bugs me a little because my NFL buddies didn’t look at me and say, ‘Aw man, hell, that’s serious,’” Ridley told the Florida Times-Union. “I wish they would’ve looked at me and said, ‘Wow, they did him like that? I hope it doesn’t happen to me.’ Because that’s what I would’ve done.”
The 28-year-old added that he thought his punishment would make other players across the league more hesitant to get involved with gambling.
“If I would’ve seen one of my NFL buddies get slammed like that, I would’ve been a little bit afraid and watching myself. But you know, it is what it is, they have to learn the hard way like I did. It’s gonna be alright though.”
But Ridley did note that a few players have contact him, and he tried to educate them about the situation.
“I think, even for me, once I found out I was getting investigated, I didn’t even know [how serious it was],” Ridley said. “I was like, ‘OK, cool.’ I didn’t know how serious it was until I left that interview.
“It’s just schooling the guys on not to do it. It’s not worth it at all. I really think we don’t understand how serious it is. We kind of go over it and then it’s gone. It’s a real serious offense. You don’t want to do it, mess with the integrity of the game and your job. Just stay away from it if you can.”
Ridley is now looking to take full advantage of his second chance at football. This season, he will catch passes from Trevor Lawrence, as the wide receiver attempts to regain form.