On Monday, Atlanta Falcons star wide receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended from the NFL for a whole year after the league found Ridley had been betting on NFL games. To be clear: Ridley was not betting on games he was playing in, was not being leveraged by any shady characters, and wasn’t even making bets while he was technically playing on Sundays; rather, he made his handful of bets while he was taking a short leave of absence from football to tend to his mental health, and was therefore unable to to do anything to affect the outcome of games.
The league said as much. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell claimed that the team “uncovered no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way… Nor was there evidence suggesting any awareness by coaches, staff, teammates, or other players of his betting activity.”
Ridley didn’t go through a bookie or anything like that; he just sat on his phone one day, plugging some bets into the Hard Rock Sportsbook app like tons of people do every Sunday. Genius Sports, an NFL partner who operates Hard Rock’s betting app, said that they “alerted the NFL that a player might be behind those bets,” which seems, to me, like a euphemism for, “Saw that Ridley had an account on one of the books we operate, saw that he placed a bet on an NFL game, and told the NFL, who they also work for.”
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