Back in 2021, star Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley announced that he was stepping away from football for an undisclosed amount of time to focus on his mental health.
During that time, it was discovered that Ridley had been betting on both NBA and NFL games, including his own former team, the Falcons.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell shared a statement saying:
“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 promptly reporting for an interview, and for admitting your actions.”
Ridley was then handed a one-year suspension, and had to forfeit his entire 2022 salary of over $11 million.
With that being said, Ridley, who has now been picked up by the Jacksonville Jaguars, has now spoken out about his actions.
According to TMZ, the 28-year-old wrote a piece for The Players Tribune today, titled, “A Letter to the Game:”
“I f*cked up. I’m not here to sugarcoat anything. In 2021, I made the worst mistake of my life by gambling on football.”
He also noted that he was suffering severely from depression and anxiety, along with his wife, who was experiencing trauma after a recent burglary in their home:
“I was looking for anything to take my mind off of things and make the day go by faster.
One day, I saw a TV commercial for a betting app, and for whatever reason, I downloaded it on my phone.”
He says he deposited $1,500, and placed bets on NBA and NFL games, including the Falcons.
However, he admitted that he didn’t have any inside information from players and teammates while betting on the Falcons:
“I didn’t have any inside information. I wasn’t even talking to anybody on the team at the time. I was totally off the grid.”
He then recalled the time the NFL found out, calling it “probably the worst day of my life:”
“I paid the price, believe me. I’ve seen all the jokes, I’ve seen all the hate.
All I want is for people to understand that, when I made those bets, there was a hell of a lot more going on with me.”
He also noted that he’s ready to play for the Jaguars, and return to his home state:
“It feels so good to be back home in Florida, where this dream started, with a clean slate.
Football saved my life. It’s still my purpose. I still love it, maybe now more than ever.”
Treavor Lawrence about to be REAL happy down there in Jacksonville.