Calvin Ridley, possibly the second-largest casualty of the brief period of legal sports betting in Florida, is back in the NFL after spending last season suspended.
The wide receiver faced an indefinite suspension from the NFL after he bet multiple parlays in November 2021 that included his then-team, the Atlanta Falcons, to win. Ridley was not with the team at the time, as he had stepped away to address mental health concerns.
The end of the suspension levied on March 7, 2022, means he can return to his new team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, for the 2023 season.
Ridley downplayed seriousness
Ridley quickly took to Twitter to defend his actions following his suspension last March:
“I bet $1,500 total I don’t have a gambling problem,” Ridley wrote. That was followed with “I couldn’t even watch football at that point.”
He eventually admitted he was wrong but was surprised at the suspension’s length.
No NFL personnel can bet on the league
Of course, the suspension had nothing to do with the size of the bet or even the fact that Ridley bet on his own team. NFL players, coaches and others are not allowed to bet on the NFL in any capacity.
The league goes one step farther for everyone except its players, banning all legal sports betting for every employee.
The NFL is opening up a bit more to its affiliation with gambling, though. MGM announced in January that it signed a deal with the NFL Players Association that lets active players advertise for the company’s casinos.
That agreement does not include advertisements for BetMGM.
Ridley not first, last suspended by NFL
Josh Shaw of the Arizona Cardinals received the first high-profile suspension from the NFL during the post-PASPA era when he bet on the NFL multiple times during the 2019 season.
The defensive back was on injured reserve at the time and bet the games in Las Vegas. He has not played in the NFL since the one-year suspension.
Former wide receiver and New York Jets coach Miles Austin III had the most recent suspension in December, and will reportedly sit out at least a year. Austin allegedly bet on other sports and placed those bets while at the Jets’ facility, according to an ESPN report.