Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley bet on football games this past fall and will be banned from playing for at least the upcoming 2022 season, the NFL announced on Monday.
The wagers were placed “during a five-day period in late November 2021 while Ridley was not with the team and was away from the club’s facility on the non-football illness list,” according to an NFL statement.
The league did not immediately detail which games Ridley wagered on or how that was done.
While sports betting has boomed since the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 struck down a federal law that required states to ban gambling on games, there is currently no such legal wagering in Georgia.
The league, though, insisted that there’s “no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way.”
On his verified Twitter page, Ridley said he bet $1,500 on games and that he “didn’t have a gambling problem.”
Coaching staff and teammates were not aware of the bets, the league said.
At the time, Ridley was on the team’s inactive list for “non-football injury.” The wideout said he needed to temporarily step away from football “to focus on my mental wellbeing.”
“There is nothing more fundamental to the NFL’s success — and to the reputation of everyone associated with our league — than upholding the integrity of the game,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a letter to Ridley.
“This is the responsibility of every player, coach, owner, game official, and anyone else employed in the league. Your actions put the integrity of the game at risk, threatened to damage public confidence in professional football, and potentially undermined the reputations of your fellow players throughout the NFL.”
The league said Ridley may petition for reinstatement on or after Feb. 15, 2023.
This is a developing story, please refresh here for updates.
David K. Li is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.
Diana Dasrath is entertainment producer and senior reporter for NBC News covering all platforms.