Emmanuel Acho

The NFL suspended Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley for an entire year earlier this week after he was found to have wagered on games last season. According to Fox Sports’ Emmanuel Acho, Ridley’s suspension highlights major hypocrisy within the league.

“So many people are up in arms because players have gotten less suspensions for domestic violence,” Acho said on Fox Sports’ Speak for Yourself. “People are up in arms because players have gotten less suspensions for DUIs. People are up in arms saying, ‘wait a second, you get a year for gambling on sports? But you only get two games for violence of some sort off the field?’”

Acho’s coverage of Ridley’s suspension has been erratic this week, beginning with his take that players “should be allowed to bet on NFL games.”

Hours later, Acho shared out-of-context football highlights of Ridley on social media, alleging the Falcons receiver might have been fixing games in addition to betting on them. Acho deleted the tweet after getting slammed for the video. But his opinion on the NFL being hypocritical in the way it penalizes its athletes have been echoed by many this week.

“The NFL cares about the integrity of the game, more than it cares about the integrity of its athletes,” Acho said.  “You do not have to like the rule, but it’s best you understand the rule.”

Ridley is not innocent. He wagered on NFL games, including a bet on his own Atlanta Falcons to win while he was away from the team last November.

But 17 games for sports betting, a practice the league strongly encourages fans to engage in every day, is a harsh penalty when you consider the punishments handed to players who commit seemingly worse wrongdoings.

Regarding domestic abuse incidents, the NFL suspended Kareem Hunt eight games and Ray Rice two. Both of those incidents were caught on video. Greg Hardy ended up with a four-game suspension after he was found guilty of beating his girlfriend.

Ridley can still appeal the suspension, although he didn’t help his case by admitting he bet on football during a series of tweets. But even if Ridley’s one-year ban gets reduced, the penalty issued by the NFL is essentially a confession. The NFL worries more about the integrity of the league than the integrity of its players.

[Fox Sports]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to bcontes@thecomeback.com