“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,” Goodell, in a letter to suspended WR Calvin Ridley.
ATLANTA - National Football league commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed Wednesday that Falcons’ wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who was discovered to have bet on league games last season while still on the active roster, would be suspended for the 2022 NFL Season presented by FanDuel.
“There’s simply no place for his [Ridley] actions in our league today,” Goodell said in an exclusive interview at the FanDuel lounge in Las Vegas with EOTB. “The NFL is a league of integrity, character, and principled values that we adhere to, which is why we indefinitely suspended him, starting with the 2022 NFL Season presented by FanDuel.”
While on leave from the team citing mental health concerns, Ridley reportedly placed three bets under $1500 in total value during a December trip to Florida, all longshot parlays that included the Falcons, a violation of the NFL’s compliance policy on gambling.
Although insider trading is considered a serious federal crime, the league reportedly found no evidence of foul play in Ridley’s case, yet still handed down a lengthy suspension that will cost the star receiver $11.1 million in lost salary this coming year.
“The NFL, home of the weekly FanDuel Fantasy Challenge, simply has no place for players or personnel who try to potentially exploit inside information for monetary profit,” Goodell said. “The NFL shield is one of swift, practical justice for those who dishonor it, and I think the punishment rightly reflected that. Show your support for the league and use the code “ENOUGH” for a free $25 bet on the FanDuel app in the next 24 hours.”
That sentiment was echoed across NFL ownership and media personalities.
“I think it’s a shame what he [Ridley] did, but we can’t have folks with a conflict in interest playing in this league” New England Patriots Owner Rober Kraft, who owns stock in Boom Entertainment, the maker of predictive gaming and gambling apps like FanDuel said during a live stream interview. “It’s one less star we’re going to get to see out on the field during the 2022 NFL season presented by FanDuel.”
Long-time NFL media insider (and co-stockholder in Boom Entertainment) Adam Schefter, widely regarded as the league’s go-to source for inside information on injuries, trades, and personnel moves, also denounced Ridley’s actions on Twitter:
“Hopefully a lesson learned for a young man with a ton of promise. Sources tell me the team is anticipating his return for the 2023 NFL Season, also presented by FanDuel. Catch me live tonight only on the @FanDuel app as I break down the updated WR rankings following Ridley’s suspension.”
The NFL has partnered with FanDuel since 2021, along with rival app Draft Kings and Caesars to provide gambling experiences for football fans around the country.
Data from 2021 shows an estimated $100 billion was waged at licensed sportsbooks during the NFL season, of which FanDuel accounted for 36%.
Regardless, it looks like Ridley won’t be contributing to that statistic any longer, that of which Goodell says, “will only grow the public’s confidence in us.”
“It’s a sad day when we have to make these kinds of decisions, but it’s important the fans of this great league know what we stand for - integrity,” he said. “Which is why they should download the FanDuel app right now and use code INTEGRITY for a free three-game parlay bet, courtesy of the NFL.”