Opinion: Ridley’s gamble is nothing new to NFL

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended from the National Football League for the 2022 season due to gambling on games last season, despite being games in which he wasn’t even playing.

Some of those games included his team, some did not.

What we see in this is a player who tried to make money by betting on his own teammate and people he was close with to win games. In any sport, this is unacceptable. And to be honest, he got what he deserved. 

The NFL had to do this before, and they’ve had to do it for several decades. 

Detroit Lions defensive tackle Alex Karras and Green Bay Packers halfback Paul Hornung were both suspended for the 1963 season because they were caught betting on NFL games. 

In a more extreme case, Baltimore Colts quarterback Art Schlichter was suspended indefinitely in 1983 for betting on NFL games and games of other leagues. He would be reinstated in 1984, but only played in two more seasons before being out of the league.

Granted, these cases happened before Ridley was even born. But you would think it’s common sense not to gamble on your own team. It’s a bad image not just of yourself, but also the league because it implies there are fixed games. 

Ridley only played in five games last season, stepping away in October to focus on his mental health.

Sure, Ridley wasn’t playing. But does that matter? Not really. It just keeps his situation from being worse by betting on himself if he wanted to. Now he’s paying the price by being forced to sit out a whole season.

He’s already said he doesn’t have a gambling problem, but with a whole season taken away from him, he needs to make sure he doesn’t try his luck with more bets. It’s a real shame to see a talented player like him give in to betting so foolishly. 

And I have to wonder, is this a larger problem than just one player? I hope not, but with what some players get themselves into, I wouldn’t be surprised. And with the NFL loosening some restrictions on betting, it easily could happen more often.