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Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended by the National Football League on Monday for betting on NFL games during the previous season. The suspension is indefinite, with a minimum span of the 2022 season before the player can apply for reinstatement.
Ridley was found to have placed parlay bets worth $1,500 over a five-day period in November of last year. The player was away from his team at the time, citing his mental wellbeing as the reason for the separation. The former first-round pick bet on the games on his phone, including placing a wager on his team to win.
The NFL has strict rules about current players betting on the game, and Ridley's suspension will cost him $11.1 million next year.
In a statement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, "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. 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 took to Twitter to defend himself, stating that he doesn't have a gambling problem.