The Calvin Ridley punishment raises the stakes for Stephen Ross

Buffalo Bills v Miami Dolphins
Getty Images

The NFL has hammered Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley for betting on football while away from the team and on the non-football injury list in 2021. That’s the league’s prerogative.

Nevertheless, the situation places even greater pressure on the NFL to properly handle the still-lingering controversy regarding the allegation made by former Dolphins coach Brian Flores that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered Flores $100,000 for each loss in 2019.

Compare the two situations. Ridley made a variety of parlay wagers. In so doing, he bet on his team to win, not lose. He wasn’t even playing in the games, so there was no direct connection between bettor and player. Also, he wasn’t even with the team when he placed the bets. (And did we mention that he actually bet on the Falcon? The Falcons?)

Ross, in contrast, is accused of encouraging his head coach to blow games in the hopes of enhancing draft status in 2020. Ross allegedly wanted his team to lose, necessarily compromising the integrity of all wagers placed on the Dolphins in 2019.

It’s a far more serious infraction. It’s a far more troubling situation. And to the extent that owners are held to a higher standard than players (as explained in Playmakers, they’re supposed to be — but they’re not), Ross will be facing far greater consequences than Ridley, if the allegations are proven to be true.

For the NFL, that’s the real challenge. Will it aggressively pursue the situation, given the practical consequences for Ross? Will the league want to admit to the world that such an egregious affront to the integrity of the game occurred, at the behest of one of the stewards of the league’s 32 franchises?

Ross ultimately may push the idea that he was joking. Will the league buy that one? Can the league afford not to?

The Commissioner’s constituents are the owners. No one else. He doesn’t answer to the players. They don’t hire him. They don’t pay him. Ross and his partners do.

That’s the way it is. The way it goes. But if the league is going to kick Ridley out of the sport for a year because he decided to download an app and place a few bets that had no direct impact on the integrity of the game, it can’t mince words or pull punches with Ross, who wanted his team to lose.

Let’s see whether the league applies the same standard to Ross that it applied to Ridley.

56 responses to “The Calvin Ridley punishment raises the stakes for Stephen Ross

  1. Ridley is worth millions. Ross is worth billions.

    I’m gonna say that Ross isn’t worried.

  2. Well, Ridley did break the rules and admitted to doing what he was accused of. As far as I know, Ross only has accusations against him from Brian Flores. I have no idea if Ross is guilty or not, but maybe we should figure that part out before you start saying definitively that he wanted his team to lose.

  3. It comes down to what can be proven with evidence. Unless they have Ross recorded making the offer, or documents corrobarating Flores’ story, I’m not seeing how it can be proven. The NFL ownership fraternity is the biggest, richest & tightest “good ol’ boys” club in America. No way they’re throwing one of their own out without substantiative evidence of wrongdoing. How else do you explain Dan Snyder still having his team?

  4. As a Dolphins fan, I hope Ross is forced to sell, and he takes his stupid logo with him.

  5. Says you. The owners have their own set of rules. Players and coaches come and go.

  6. More accurately, the NFL applied the same standard to Ridley as it did to Paul Hornung nearly 60 years ago. The Golden Boy was suspended the entire 1963 season after Rozelle learned of his gambling on NFL games.

  7. one admits to guilt and the other is an accusation thereby innocent until proven guilt.

  8. What did Ridley do wrong? He bet on his teammates in games he wasn’t playin in or connected to.

  9. Gambling is a BILLION(s) dollar industry. ANY person who can influence ANY outcome of a game.. owner, player, coach, ref should be banned 4 life.. period!

  10. I’m sure that Ross will be dealt with very sternly. Who has ever heard of an extremely wealthy person getting special treatment?

  11. Very rarely are owners held accountable. See: Daniel Snyder. Maybe the team loses some draft picks and pays a fine. But not much else.

  12. I don’t think it makes much difference whether he bet on the Falcons to win or lose.

  13. Um,I don’t see a connection at all! Ridley replied guilty to the accusation he bet on games,so he’s being punished. Ross hasn’t plead guilty says he’s not and Flores keeps extending the period of time the process will take to start because he keeps changing the charges. Looks to me like Flores is nervous. Where is his witness? I don’t like Ross and I’m a Dolphins fan,he’s a bad owner, but no one knows whether or not Ross did this. Except Ross and Flores at this point.

  14. vaster says:
    March 7, 2022 at 8:55 pm
    Ridley is worth millions. Ross is worth billions.

    I’m gonna say that Ross isn’t worried.


    There is no other answer.

  15. Im not even sure what the exact question is here. But the answer is “of course, it is what it is”.

  16. Mr Ross I’ll wager, pun intended, gets a 5 million dollar fine, so about one games concessions or a few sections of gate recipients. I bet he gets told like Irsay that year that you’ve been so bad, we won’t even let you watch the game from your stadium. That’s right stay in your penthouse in New York and forgoe the “commute” for a portion of the season. As ifs tv the size of a building aren’t at his disposal should he choose. In short it will be a penalty we are supposed to believe has teeth and really hits him when in actuality It is nothing at all for an aging billionaire who lives in another region of the country let alone the state or the city of his team.

  17. Even Billionaires don’t like to loose millions. Thats why they’re billionaires…..

  18. It definitely means Matt Ryan is gone. No reason to pay him almost 50 mil to lead another sub par record. Get what you can ATL and rebuild

  19. Miami Dolphins fans understood the mission in 2019.

    The “network” and alphabet soup channel, talked about it.

    We seen it here.

    Miami fans seen the stripped down roster.

    Bettors were not left in the dark.

  20. Fine Ross hundreds of millions of dollars, AND force him to sell the team. He doesn’t get to own a team anymore. He lost that right.

  21. Worst case for Ross is that he has a lot more time on Sundays and a lot more money in his pocket.

  22. First is there any proof other than the allegation? If it is true shouldn’t Flores be suspended for not reporting it right away? Do we also go back now and look at all the times the teams tanked for a better draft choice. And the I supposed the biggest is what about that last drive in the Superbowl that surely looked like they were doing all they could to guarantee an LA win.

  23. However the league handles the current Ross/Flores situation they need to get it right on all counts.
    If it’s proven that Ross did offer Flores money to lose NFL games there’s no way around this, in order to preserve a positive reputation the league must force Ross to sell. Otherwise essentially they are saying the league Fathers are above the law.
    And should that be established the NFL will be on a self-made slippery slope with a predictable outcome. .

  24. Unless Ross admits he said that then there’s nothing the league can do. There’s no actual proof Flores has to offer.

  25. vaster says:
    March 7, 2022 at 8:55 pm
    Ridley is worth millions. Ross is worth billions.

    I’m gonna say that Ross isn’t worried.


    Agreed. He may lose the Dolphins but he sure as hell isn’t going to lose money on the forced sale of the team.

  26. Gambling is a huge part of what makes NFL popular. Gambling equals viewers equals advertising equals TV contracts and that is the life blood of the NFL. If you lose the trust in the integrity of the game that all goes downhill. Ridley is a scapegoat so no one else thinks about it.

  27. Someone as rich as Ross is above the law in modern America. He can do pretty much anything.

  28. Compare the two situations – there is one difference:

    One admitted to the act – the other is only an allegation

    A big difference

  29. It’s very unlikely they would ever be able to provide proof those conversations ever happened beyond hearsay.

    It is indisputable what Ridley did. While obviously tanking was the Dolphins plan, it can be argued if they were tanking why did we win 5 out of the last 9 games of the season.

  30. Crystal ball prediction: The league will find that the league did nothing wrong. Yet, everything will be under NDA for some reason.

  31. This is an excellent point. In theory, the league would not want players betting on games as they could potentially influence the outcomes of the games via their play on the field. An owner demanding a coach purposely lose games is the ultimate in influencing the outcome of the game…. Such an owner and his team should be penalized to the fullest

  32. Where is the proof that Ross offered Flores money to lose?

    Flores word against Ross’s means nothing

  33. What’s more likely – that Flores just made this up out of nothing, or that what he says is true? “Tank for Tua” was the joke even before the start of the season. And we’ve seen other examples in the last couple of years of teams blatantly not trying to win.

    I don’t understand why anyone thinks an NFL owner wouldn’t give an order like this. Of course they would. Not all of them, but most of them. They’re rich, they’re not saints.

  34. Will the next hammer that comes down is players playing fantasy football? If they are playing in leagues where any money is involved it is “gambling”.

    I’ve seen some interviews and articles where players come out and say they picked themselves with the first pick….could be a lot of suspensions if this is the road they are going down based on someone who put a few dollars down (especially in light of Cal Rid’s salary) by trying to hit a few parley’s…

  35. I love hot this assumes that Flores is telling the truth about everything, as if that guy doesn’t have his own agenda. I read his lawsuit, it is for media consumption and for quoting on Twitter. I suspect most of it won’t withstand the most minimum of scrutiny, like cross-examination.

  36. For all the folks bringing up that Ridley admitted it, thinking Ridley’s “innocent until proven guilty, you all seem to think this is a court case. It is not. Ridley admitted to THE LEAGUE that he engaged in betting on a couple games. Ridley did not admit anything to any legal authority. This isn’t about guilt or innocence. It’s about how the league conducts its own business. “innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t enter into this. Ridley wasn’t found guilty by any court of his peers. The league said ‘hey, we think you did this’ and Ridley came in for an interview voluntarily and told them ‘oops, I did that’. To my knowledge the league isn’t even asking Ross to come in for an interview. So stop with the nonsense courtroom talk. This isn’t a courtroom. We are talking about broken RULES (of the league) not broken laws (which is necessarily a separate matter).

  37. I’m still not sure why it’s a big deal that Ross wanted them to lose. Do you think that doesn’t happen regularly in the NFL and other pro leagues? Look at the annual NBA tankathon. Should all of those owners be brought up on charges because I would be pretty confident they would find that the owners orchestrated losing by incentivizing coaches or benching players with a wink-nod understanding. If the law is applicable to this situation because of the sports gambling aspect, wouldn’t that be an issue for all sports too?

  38. Tabasco says:

    What’s more likely – that Flores just made this up out of nothing, or that what he says is true? “Tank for Tua” was the joke even before the start of the season.
    Tank for Tua was a mantra coined by a blogger. If they had really tanked they would have Burrow. They won a bunch of games down the stretch.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.