Calvin Ridley Oct 3, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (18) runs after a catch against the Washington Football Team in the second quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

When the NFL suspended Calvin Ridley for an entire year after he was caught gambling, there were plenty of thoughts spurred into the universe. Questions were asked, policies were criticized, and the league’s relationships with sportsbooks all came into question.

For the first time since that scandal, Ridley spoke candidly about the shocking betting scandal that resulted in the wide receiver’s career being put on hold for a year.

Ridley penned an article in The Players’ Tribune in which he got honest about everything.

To the football world, and everyone who loves this game: 

I ****** up. I’m not here to sugarcoat anything. In 2021, I made the worst mistake of my life by gambling on football. 

I paid the price, believe me. I’ve seen all the jokes. I’ve seen all the hate. And I can shoulder all of that, no problem. All I want is for people to understand that, when I made those bets, there was a hell of a lot more going on with me. 

Ridley continued to reveal himself and the thoughts inside him at the time. He spoke about battling a significant bout of anxiety and that his body felt like it was breaking down.

He then spoke about the moment he made the decision, a decision he clearly regrets.

I just ****** up. Period. In a dark moment, I made a stupid mistake. I wasn’t trying to cheat the game. That’s the thing I want to make clear. At the time, I had been completely away from the team for about a month. I was still just so depressed and angry, and the days were so long. I was looking for anything to take my mind off of things and make the day go by faster. One day, I saw a TV commercial for a betting app, and for whatever reason, I downloaded it on my phone. I deposited like $1,500 total, literally just for something to do. I was going to bet like $200 on some NBA games that night, but then I just added a bunch more games to a parlay. I put the Falcons in on it. I was just doing it to root on my boys, basically. I didn’t have any inside information. I wasn’t even talking to anybody on the team at the time. I was totally off the grid. 

Whenever people ask, “What were you thinking?” The only answer I can give is, “I wasn’t.” 

Calvin Ridley joined the Jacksonville Jaguars through a trade this past season. So when he suits up again in 2023, he will for the first time for a team that isn’t the Atlanta Falcons. If nothing else, Ridley’s transparency certainly does him a bit of good here. It was a mistake he shouldn’t have made, but now he’s paid the price, and will get a second crack at it this fall.

[The Players’ Tribune]

About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022