Calvin Ridley NFL Suspension Is About Money, Not Morality

Following news that the National Football League has suspended Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley for at least the 2022 season — and possibly longer — for violating league member policy. NFL betting on football games, it didn’t take long for hot takes on the NFL’s hypocrisy to pour in.

To be clear, there are a number of areas where the NFL is blatantly hypocritical. As Brian Flores’ recent lawsuit makes pretty clear, the NFL preaches racial equality and support for the Black Lives Matter movement despite a dire lack of people of color in positions of power within the league. Additionally, while perhaps not as serious, the NFL has a very inconsistent stance on the use of marijuana, including for the treatment of pain.

One area where the NFL has never been anything but crystal clear is the league’s desire to make money and big money. For the NFL to continue to do so, fans, consumers and – thanks to the widespread legalization of sports betting – players must have 100% confidence that the product the league puts on the field is on the level and not predetermined. Without that assurance, the NFL would simply become professional wrestling with helmets, better athletes, and way more fans. Keeping those fans and their betting dollars is paramount.

That’s why the NFL had to throw the book on Ridley and stop him from catching passes in the field for at least a year. It doesn’t matter that betting $1,500 will end up costing him $11 million in salary or that he was on mental health leave away from the Falcons at the time the bets were placed. It also doesn’t matter that Ridley wasn’t using any inside information, wasn’t trying to fix any of the games he was betting on, and clearly didn’t know what he was doing either, as evidenced by placing parlays longshot up to eight. teams. The NFL, which has employed many domestic abusers, racists, drug addicts and other unsavory characters over the years, has an unbreakable rule: professional football players cannot bet on professional football.

“There is nothing more fundamental to the success of the NFL – and to the reputation of everyone associated with our league – than maintaining the integrity of the game,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. For once, he’s right.

Call it hypocritical for a league that is in bed with the gambling industry not to allow its players to bet on football if you wish, but that has nothing to do with morality. It has to do with money – and the league has always been transparent, that’s what it values ​​above all else.

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