After one year of indefinite suspension, Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley has been fully reinstated into the league.
Last year, the athlete faced disciplinary action after violating the NFL’s strict rules on gambling. In March 2022, he was caught placing bets on games, some including his own team, and profited at least $2,744, according to Sports Illustrated.
Following an investigation by the league, the Atlanta Falcons placed him on suspension, and was not allowed to play for the entirety of the 2022 season.
Ridley was traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars during his year-long suspension. When he requested reinstatement on the first day he was available to do so, he was welcomed back to the league with open arms. While he is excited to get back in the swing of things, the first thing the wide receiver did was show remorse for his actions in a lengthy statement posted on social media.
“I f***ed up. I’m not here to sugarcoat anything. In 2021, I made the worst mistake of my life by gambling on football,” Ridley wrote, per The Player’s Tribune.
“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.”
As the 28-year-old continued, he opened up about the depression he was facing at the time of his gambling shenanigans. Ridley explained that he was dealing with pressure to take painkillers and the trauma of living through a home invasion and used gambling to take his mind off the issues he was experiencing.
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Calvin Ridley reveals the TRUTH behind his reason for gambling
“Back then, I was depressed. I was battling anxiety. I didn’t even want to leave my house. Football was the only thing that ever gave my life meaning, and I couldn’t even find any joy in that at the time,” he admitted.
Continuing, he made it clear that the goal was never to cheat. Instead, gambling was a solution to his depression. “In a dark moment, I made a stupid mistake. I wasn’t trying to cheat the game,” Ridley said. “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. “
“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,” he added. “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.”
With the time spent away from the NFL, Ridley devoted his time to getting his mental health in line. Now, in 2023, he looks forward to continuing his career in the league and with his new team. “I feel stronger than I’ve ever felt,” he wrote in his letter.
In one of his closing paragraphs, he expressed gratitude for the Jaguars having faith in his personal growth. “I want to thank the Jaguars for showing faith in me, and understanding me as a human being who made a mistake. It feels so good to be back home in Florida, where this dream started, with a clean slate,” said Ridley.
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