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Atlanta Falcons star Calvin Ridley suspended for 2022 season for allegedly betting on NFL games

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday suspended Atlanta Falcons star wide receiver Calvin Ridley through at least the conclusion of the 2022 season for allegedly betting on NFL games in the 2021 season.

The alleged wagering took place during a five-day period in late November 2021, while Ridley was was away from the club's facility on the non-football illness list, the NFL said in a statement. 

A league investigation uncovered no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way. The NFL also said there was no evidence that any coaches, staff, teammates, or other players knew about the alleged betting.

In a letter to Ridley notifying him of his suspension, Commissioner Goodell wrote: "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."

Ridley on Monday tweeted: "I bet 1500 total I don't have a gambling problem." 

The Falcons issued a statement Monday, saying they were made aware of the investigation on February 9.

"We have cooperated fully with the investigation since receiving notice and support the league's findings and actions," the team said. "We are moving forward in the 2022 season with the decision that was made. With the decision that was made by the NFL, any further questions on the investigation should be directed to the league office."

Ridley can appeal his suspension within three days. If he does not appeal, or if he does and his suspension is upheld, the earliest he could petition for reinstatement is February 15, 2023, the league said.

Ridley, 27, only played in five games last season for the Falcons. On October 10, the receiver was ruled out for the Falcons' matchup against the New York Jets with what was designated as a "personal matter." Ridley then returned two weeks later, following the team's bye week. The next week, on October 31, Ridley announced that he was taking a break from football to "focus on my mental wellbeing." He missed the remainder of the season.

Ridley was named a second team All-Pro in 2020 when he caught 90 passes for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns.

A first round pick in 2018, Ridley won two national championships with the Alabama Crimson Tide.

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