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Is Ridley’s year-long ban for betting on NFL games too harsh?

Calvin Ridley betting ban

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley has been suspended for a full year for gambling on NFL games. It’s a harsh penalty, but the NFL is a league of integrity (kind of) and does not want people doubting the legitimacy of its product.

Ridley broke out as a true star two years ago but had a weird year in 2021. He struggled for a couple games, then sat out the rest of the year for mental health reasons. He apparently made these bets when he was out.

The wagers in question were reportedly parlay bets that included his team, the Falcons. Many media members have pointed out that boxers can bet on themselves, why can’t NFL players? It’s not nearly as bad as betting against yourself, but the NFL most likely wants to make an example out of Ridley.

Despite their numerous sportsbook partners, commissioner Roger Goodell and the league have made their stance clear. If you are an NFL player, you cannot bet on football. And that kind of makes sense. It’s just a little bizarre that a league that constantly pushes its sportsbook corporate partners in its audience’s faces would take such a strong anti-gambling stance.

Many other people are pointing out other violations, like Ray Rice’s two-game suspension for domestic violence. This is when Goodell and his henchmen watched a video of the abuse before it was publicly available and settled on two games. The point of this comparison is to show you where the NFL’s priorities are.

Obviously, it’s not good to be betting on games you take part in and this does warrant a punishment. It’s just that it feels ridiculously harsh. The NFL did come out and say it didn’t find any evidence that he was betting with insider information, so it feels even harsher considering that.

Ultimately, Ridley broke the rules and deserves a punishment. While the punishment system in the NFL needs some work, the integrity of the game should be maintained and it’s easier to do that by banning gambling amongst the players. Ridley is still young, so hopefully he serves his suspension and comes back ready to ball again.

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