Calvin Ridley: Gambling on football was the worst mistake of my life

NFL: OCT 25 Lions at Falcons
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Jaguars receiver Calvin Ridley was reinstated earlier this week after serving a season-long suspension for gambling on NFL games.

Upon his reinstatement, Ridley released a statement through the team saying that he’s excited to restart his career.

But on Wednesday, Ridley delved a lot deeper into what happened in a written piece for The Players Tribune.

In it, Ridley candidly says, “I f***ed up” and calls his decision to bet on NFL games “the worst mistake of my life.”

He explains in detail how he got to that point, noting that he played much of the 2020 season on a broken foot, taking painkillers to get through games. And then his house was robbed, adding to his level of stress and anxiety.

So, during the 2021 season, Ridley stepped away from the team to deal with his mental health issues. And he says he wasn’t really thinking when he placed the bets that would get him suspended.

“I just f***ed up. Period,” Ridley writes. “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.”

Ridley said that the NFL investigators calling him in was probably the worst day of his life, but he expresses that he might have needed to hit “rock bottom” to come out the other side healthy.

And now that he’s with Jacksonville, he’s looking forward to a big season.

“Right now, I feel stronger than I’ve ever felt —  mentally and physically,” Ridley writes. “On the field, I’m flying. Believe me, I’m flying. That GPS band don’t lie. On my daughter’s name, if I’m healthy? With Trevor Lawrence? I’m giving Jacksonville 1,400 yards a season, period.”

Ridley was a second-team All-Pro in 2020 when he caught 90 passes for 1,374 yards with nine touchdowns. Jacksonville acquired him in November for a pair of conditional draft picks.

32 responses to “Calvin Ridley: Gambling on football was the worst mistake of my life

  1. How this kind of thing got him a year long suspension and Desean Watson getting half a season is an abomination

  2. Refreshing to see someone take responsibility for their mistakes. The future seems bright for him

  3. It’s cool to hear a player’s candid response instead of some prepared statement churned out by a lawyer. I hope he has a big year. The NFL did him wrong.

  4. This guy was suspended a year for gambling. Frank Clark got caught with an Uzi on his front seat, 2 games. Tyreek Hill beat his gf and broke his son’s arm, no games. Ben Ro rapes a girl in a club bathroom, 6 games. Deshaun Watson (you won’t let this comment go through if I REALLY say what he is), 11 games. Kareem Hunt beats on a woman, 8 games. I could go on, but I think you get the point. This guy was suspended for a year for gambling. The NFL is dumb.

  5. Too much free time and too much money. And not enough wisdom & experience.

  6. Excellent trade for Jacksonville. Not sure what the Falcons were thinking.

  7. Good to see how he took responsibility for his actions.Stay on the straight and narrow,
    young man. I wish you luck with the Jags.

  8. You’re not alone Calvin, gambling on football is the biggest mistake in a lot of people’s lives.

  9. You didn’t know that before hand. Gotta clean up your words before the job interviews.

  10. I’m really glad that Ridley seems to have gotten the help he needed. The Big Shield can kick rocks with their stupid rules. Beat the living daylights out of someone? Slap on the wrist. Participate in legal gambling? Ban hammer.

  11. NFL should be ashamed of itself for what they did to Ridley. Obviously we don’t want players betting on games when they can affect the outcome but there was an easy way to be fair about this to everyone. The NFL should have seen that they had an issue with the rule when Ridley was not on the active roster or in the team facility. It should have been a two game suspension and reinforce the importance of the policy to all players and coaches in the league.

    Much respect to Ridley for how he handled himself and taking responsibility. None to the NFL for once again being huge hypocrites.

  12. This is all agent/lawyer-speak so that they con continue to be paid by Ridley. Gamblers are going to gamble, next time he’ll be more discreet about it.

  13. I hope he does well going forwards, he made a mistake and was made an example of. Punishment did not fit the ‘crime’.

    Wouldn’t it be a good idea for professional sports persons to be blacklisted from betting, rather than letting them set up accounts then snitching on them to their professional organisation? As almost like entrapment I would say.

  14. In a month, a player will get drafted who had a hand in the deaths of two people and I am sure the NFL will do nothing!

  15. ghjjf says:
    March 8, 2023 at 3:11 pm

    In a month, a player will get drafted who had a hand in the deaths of two people and I am sure the NFL will do nothing!
    If the NFL did not draft that player, the media would go berserk and demand that the player be given a second chance.

  16. I think he learned his lesson. Next time just beat the crap out of a woman or sexual abuse many women and your “penalty” will be alot less severe.

  17. In this age of conspiracy theorists gone mad, even the appearance of motive to fix games is to be taken seriously. The league was right to suspend him. Kudos to Ridley for owning up to it instead of the usual passive aggressive claims of being the victim. Pete Rose spent 5years lying through his teeth denying everything, bad mouthing commissioner Giamatti and MLB in general claiming a vast evil conspiracy against him. To this day, Rose doesn’t understand what he did wrong. Even when he still owed back taxes to the IRS for unreported income supporting his gambling, he was still betting on the ponies and frequenting Vegas. Ridley seems to have gotten his act together.

  18. Dude, you owned it, now move on

    Don’t let it dictate your life man

    It’s over and done with

    Now go catch 100 for 12,000 and 16

  19. “Gambling is the child of avarice, the brother of iniquity, and the father of mischief.” – George Washington

  20. Wow… Of all the things the NFL should take a firm stance on, and THIS is what warranted a year-long suspension? Drugs? No biggie. Violate 30 women? You bet. Beat up a loved one? Not a problem. Make a bet on a game with your own money for all debts public and private? You’re GONE! Drop the hammer! Throw the book! What a joke…

    I have heard 1000 “after the fact” apologies from NFL players. This is one of the few sincere ones, and it’s one he never should have even had to make. Not a Falcons or Jags fan, but I’ll root for this guy to make a big impact and get his livelihood back.

  21. I’m pulling for this young man. Sometimes you have to hit bottom to appreciate what you have. Hopefully this will be a life re-set for him.

  22. Gambling stands on it’s own as an infraction because it compromises the integrity of the game.There should be no equivalency on punishment for any other bad deeds.

  23. His story strikes me as very sincere. Seems like a stand up young man. The punishment was too severe but he is not expressing bitterness. Good for him. Respect.

  24. I have always like him as player, now like him as both a player and person. Jackonville should be stoked to get him. Would have loved to see Dallas make the move, but, unfortunately the QB couldn’t get him the ball anyway.

  25. Dude you are talking about this big mistake, now you going put your daughters name in a statement?

  26. Ridley makes it clear he understood and deserved his punishment. People still have no clue and want to cry whataboutism.

  27. I hope he tears it UP the rest of his career!!! Commis OVERREACTING!!!

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