Shocking news broke on Monday when the NFL announced that it was suspending Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley for the entire 2022-2023 season after discovering that he had placed bets on NFL games in November.
After the news broke, Ridley took to social media to tweet through it and let people know he doesn’t have a gambling problem, which probably only made things worse as it appears that he risked millions of dollars in NFL money for a couple of thousands of dollars in bets.
I bet 1500 total I don’t have a gambling problem
— CALVIN RIDLEY (@CalvinRidley1) March 7, 2022
Details are emerging quickly about the specifics of Ridley’s bets and how the NFL discovered them.
NFL Network’s Mike Garofalo explained that the league discovered the bets through a tracking program that is part of their agreement with Genius Sports Group, which serves as their exclusive distributor of sports betting data to media companies and sports betting operators. Turns out, they spotted Ridley’s bets, which he placed on his phone, and reported it to the league.
From our breaking news coverage on @nflnetwork: The NFL made it clear they’d be able to work with their gambling partners to gather information on potential violations by players and team employees. That’s how Calvin Ridley was caught. pic.twitter.com/0437jOcovs
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 7, 2022
“Integrity of the game is at the center of all the NFL’s legalized sports betting ventures, and Genius will support the NFL’s efforts through comprehensive integrity services to monitor betting across all NFL games (preseason, regular season, and postseason) and tentpole events,” read a press release from the initial partnership. “The NFL and its Clubs will also have access to Genius’ integrity education programs to ensure the continuation of the NFL’s high standard for integrity.”
Per The Athletic’s Lindsay Jones, Ridley used the Hard Rock Sportsbook app to make his bets.
The bets were placed through the Hard Rock Sportsbook app; the activity was flagged and reported to Genius Sports, the firm that handles sports betting data and info for the NFL.
— Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) March 7, 2022
As far as exactly what Ridley bet, it was a series of multi-legged parlay bets involving three, five, and eight NFL games that included one for the Falcons to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars. Per Adam Schefter, it was determined that Ridley had no insider information beyond his own as an NFL player.
NFL determined that Calvin Ridley placed multi-legged parlay bets involving 3, 5 and 8 games that included the Falcons to win, per source. Investigation determined there was no involvement from any team players, coach etc. placed via his mobile device out of state.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 7, 2022
Certainly more information to come on this story as it develops. The biggest takeaway is, of course, that NFL players know now that their online and app-based gambling exploits can and will be monitored by the league.
Also, if you’re gonna be this dumb, don’t be extra dumb.
The biggest error in judgment here is putting money on the Calvin Ridley-less Atlanta Falcons to win.
— Matt Clapp (@DaBearNecess) March 7, 2022
Calvin Ridley bet $1500 and lost $10 million, those are the worst odds in gambling history
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) March 7, 2022