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It Came from the Falcoholic part 58, worth a discussion....


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NFL should lessen suspension for Falcons WR Calvin Ridley

The punishment never fit the crime, but don’t hold your breath on a reversal.

By Cory Woodroof@CoryWoodroof47  Jul 12, 2022, 12:00pm EDT  

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The National Football League dropped the hammer on Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley this past March, suspending him for at least a year for placing a couple of online bets from his phone on league games.

The NFL is also currently deliberating on what to do with Browns (almost Falcons) quarterback Deshaun Watson, who has been credibly accused of 25+ instances of sexual harassment and assault stemming from massage appointments.

If he gets even one game less than Ridley received, the league’s discipline apparatus will once again look like broken machinery. At the very least, the NFL should revisit its Ridley punishment in wake of Watson’s pending one, so as not to be making the case that what Ridley has done and what Watson has been accused of doing to multiple women are on equal footing.

Reviewing Ridley

The suspension Ridley received is for “at least a year,” meaning that he has to be reinstated by the league before he can step on a field again. If the NFL wanted to be draconian, it could refuse to ever let the former Alabama receiver ever play again for the grievous crime of using a sports betting app that is likely airing commercials during NFL games.

The league at the time of the punishment used Ridley as an example in this new day-and-age of online betting, one that should strike fear in the hearts of any NFL player who even thinks of going near a parlay while they’re part of an NFL team. To the league, it is nearly unforgivable to even vaguely taint the “integrity” of the game, something that looks a bit funny given that this is a game that has historically been terrible at punishing domestic abusers, has a horrifying legacy of CTE building amongst its alumni, and saw a once-prominent quarterback blackballed for protesting for equal rights. If you want to stick to the on-field integrity, this is a sport with a long history of officiating that threatens the product, knee jerk rule changes that muddle everything, and naked pursuit of profits regardless of how players feel about it. From the “protecting the shield” perspective, it makes a certain amount of sense to make Ridley’s punishment harsher, but the NFL has long claimed to be a league that cares about more than just the on-field results of its games.

Ridley is now the prime example of what happens if you really get on the NFL’s bad side. While what he did was silly and extremely avoidable—nobody here argued he should not be punished for it at all—it should have never necessitated more than a month or at most two to send that all-important message. The wideout admitted what he did was wrong, and is now having to pay the ultimate price for something that any of us could do legally in a state where it is permissible. Sports gambling is extremely common now thanks to the rise of sites like FanDuel and DraftKings, and the league is going to have to buck up one day and recognize that players are probably using those sites all of the time to bet on other sports and games in which they are not participating in the NFL. Ridley just made the honest mistake of making his usage too easily found by an investigative force and betting on his own team, even if he wasn’t playing. To win, which last year in particular has a certain amount of doomed faith to it.

Ridley’s punishment is likely intended to be strong enough to scare the league off ever doing this again, but the initial doling of the punishment should be enough to send the message the league wants to send. While it’s admittedly a self-righteous message primarily backed by financial interest, it’s one received loud and clear, and one that wouldn’t be tarnished by lessening it. If (hypothetically) Ridley’s getting a month or two once the dust settles for a relatively minor transgression, it’s still going to be clear to everyone that betting heavily or on the outcomes of games you’re directly involved in will mean the sort of indefinite suspension the NFL initially handed down.

Watson’s pending suspension, rumored to be a year and one that could easily be appealed by the NFLPA, being even in the same ballpark as Ridley’s continues to seem incredible. If more recent reports prove correct, Watson’s suspension could be significantly less than Ridley’s, which is absurd on its face.

While the most legalistic-minded among us would note Watson has vehemently denied his actions and Ridley has owned up to his, there is still something baffling about betting on a legal app on a sport you play in being even vaguely comparable in length of punishment to serving time for a historic number of sexual harassment and assault allegations.

Again, the league has been trying ever since the initial and wholly inadequate Ray Rice suspension to make it clear it takes even allegations of crime against women and the vulnerable seriously and can be trusted to respond accordingly. It’s difficult to make that case convincingly if the punishment for Watson clocks in as equal to or less than the punishment the league handed out to a suspended player making $3,900 in bets on his own team, and the NFL surely understands that.

Unlikely outcomes

Let’s be real. Ridley probably won’t play anymore for the Falcons, and the second his suspension ends, he’ll likely be traded elsewhere. It’s plausible the team will see what he’s got with the way the receiver room needs talent, but with trade talks brewing pre-suspension, his time in Atlanta is likely already over. This is not about stumping for a player because I’d like to see the team add draft capital or win more games by adding to their receiving corps. Whether it’s in a Falcons uniform or in the uniform of another team, I just believe Ridley should be playing in 2022.

Cutting his suspension in half and making him sit out until midseason feels like an easy concession that Ridley could be granted, with the full understanding that this happened during a difficult time in his life and the full knowledge that any future transgressions in this vein would lead to a permanent suspension. If Watson gets a year, simply put, Ridley needs to be immediately granted far less than that. It sets yet another ugly precedent for the league, though given the NFL’s track record they’re likely to shrug it off and keep Ridley where he is, drawing the same sort of condemnation and questioning the next time a situation where its inability to mete out punishment consistently comes under scrutiny. The league has long been able to bank on its popularity ensuring it can bulldoze its way past controversy and outright incompetence, after all.

In a just world, Ridley sees a lessened suspension, is given the opportunity to talk to other teams about why players need to be careful about online gambling, and moves on with his career sometime in November. Though, that would make too much sense. Ridley messed with the shield, and now he’s paying for it.

Whether it’s in Atlanta or elsewhere, a football field without Ridley this season is another sign the league has no idea how to enforce its code of conduct justly, particularly if his punishment winds up being harsher than Watson’s. Unfortunately, that’s just the outcome we’re expecting.

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45 minutes ago, Tribal Chief said:

I agree they should. What he did was stupid sure, but an indefinite suspension for $1500, $3900 or whatever is pretty extreme regardless of who the player is. Still trade away that $11 million hit as soon as possible, if possible. 

Agreed.  Cut it to mid-season, then ship him to wherever we can and get whatever we can in return.  

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10 minutes ago, Herr Doktor said:

Agreed.  Cut it to mid-season, then ship him to wherever we can and get whatever we can in return.  

Don't get me wrong. I got no issue with him gambling. According to multiple former players, there's a huge sign in most, if not all of the facilities that boldly state that gambling is a no no. Knowing that, i agree that punishment is warranted. But indefinite on a first offense is just beyond egregious imo. But rules are rules and I believe that if you're caught, especially with proof, you deserve to face consequences. Outrageous but it's their rules

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2 minutes ago, Herr Doktor said:

Ok, side question.  Ridley trade value.  Given the issues, what is his value?  I have an idea that with all things concerned, we would be highway robbers to get a third, however, a fourth feels more realistic (If such a thing exists)?

So Ridley is pushing 28. Talented, solid route runner, decent hands. I can see a 3rd or 4th ONLY because of the gambling thing and him missing time last year due to mental health, if that was really legit. Not questioning it nor am I going to debate it but honestly, we don't know. People lie everyday and although he's an athlete, he still falls under the people category so we don't know and will never know the truth and honestly we don't need to know. 

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17 minutes ago, Tribal Chief said:

Don't get me wrong. I got no issue with him gambling. According to multiple former players, there's a huge sign in most, if not all of the facilities that boldly state that gambling is a no no. Knowing that, i agree that punishment is warranted. But indefinite on a first offense is just beyond egregious imo. But rules are rules and I believe that if you're caught, especially with proof, you deserve to face consequences. Outrageous but it's their rules

To me they were setting a precedent.  But, in all reality, he wasn't betting against the Falcons.  He seems pretty **** immature for 27, but really, it was nothing to ban a guy for a YEAR PLUS.  I am in the "Pete Rose needs to be in the Hall" crowd.  The man was betting, and not hurting people or commiting atrocities.

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14 minutes ago, Tribal Chief said:

So Ridley is pushing 28. Talented, solid route runner, decent hands. I can see a 3rd or 4th ONLY because of the gambling thing and him missing time last year due to mental health, if that was really legit. Not questioning it nor am I going to debate it but honestly, we don't know. People lie everyday and although he's an athlete, he still falls under the people category so we don't know and will never know the truth and honestly we don't need to know. 

I'm not seeing a pick that high. 

Say, if he is allowed to play half the season, would that not make him an free agent at the end of the year (I honestly don't know how that would work)? Add that to the mental health issues, and the gambling issues, and I think you would be lucky to net a 6th for him.

I guess it would all depend on the need of another team, though.

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16 minutes ago, Tribal Chief said:

So Ridley is pushing 28. Talented, solid route runner, decent hands. I can see a 3rd or 4th ONLY because of the gambling thing and him missing time last year due to mental health, if that was really legit. Not questioning it nor am I going to debate it but honestly, we don't know. People lie everyday and although he's an athlete, he still falls under the people category so we don't know and will never know the truth and honestly we don't need to know. 

I agree.  The man can straight ball when he is on.  Smooth probably under values his moves.  The whole mental health thing is something I know nothing of, but I just hope it was not used as a way for the Falcons to say "Hey NFL, we know what's happening and we have taken action in a way for all to save face"

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Just now, Swayzee said:

I'm not seeing a pick that high. 

Say, if he is allowed to play half the season, would that not make him an free agent at the end of the year (I honestly don't know how that would work)? Add that to the mental health issues, and the gambling issues, and I think you would be lucky to net a 6th for him.

I guess it would all depend on the need of another team, though.

See, the optimist in me thinks third.  But the Falcon fan in me tends to agree with you.  A fifth at mid season would be decent as he would probably be a free agent.  Not entirely sure how that works though.  Hard to be positive in any way with Ridley.

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1 minute ago, Herr Doktor said:

See, the optimist in me thinks third.  But the Falcon fan in me tends to agree with you.  A fifth at mid season would be decent as he would probably be a free agent.  Not entirely sure how that works though.  Hard to be positive in any way with Ridley.

Seemed like a nice hard working kid prior to last season. The fall from grace has been quick, but odd compared to other dumpster fires in the past.

If I had to guess, I think he already requested a trade too, and team will know that if it is fact....further dropping and already plummeting value! This is based on some odd social media things that were going on prior to the gambling thing.

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3 minutes ago, Swayzee said:

I'm not seeing a pick that high. 

Say, if he is allowed to play half the season, would that not make him an free agent at the end of the year (I honestly don't know how that would work)? Add that to the mental health issues, and the gambling issues, and I think you would be lucky to net a 6th for him.

I guess it would all depend on the need of another team, though.

That’s the thing. Giving up a mid to late round pick for a player who’s talented and approaching his first real payday, that is actually a solid exchange. It’s when first or second rounders are involved along with a contract extension   
 

Accoring to reports, Philly is the team that was interested and terry shot it down because he knew what was about to happen. Look at what Philly gave up for AJ Brown. I use that to say a 3 or a 4 given Calvin’s situation. The crime was nothing but it was something to the Shield. Teams overlook operate differently 

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2 minutes ago, Swayzee said:

Seemed like a nice hard working kid prior to last season. The fall from grace has been quick, but odd compared to other dumpster fires in the past.

If I had to guess, I think he already requested a trade too, and team will know that if it is fact....further dropping and already plummeting value! This is based on some odd social media things that were going on prior to the gambling thing.

Can’t use him liking those tweets as evidence though IMO. Look at the way Falcon fans were treating him on social media. I would have done the same exact thing because when fans react that way towards players, they feel unwanted. So why not appreciate fans who show that they actually want you?

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2 minutes ago, Tribal Chief said:

Can’t use him liking those tweets as evidence though IMO. Look at the way Falcon fans were treating him on social media. I would have done the same exact thing because when fans react that way towards players, they feel unwanted. So why not appreciate fans who show that they actually want you?

Yeah I agree with that. 

But the team did everything they could to be compassionate, and it seemed to be a slap in the face. No teams fanbase would have acted any different toward Ridley, after what went down.

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7 minutes ago, Tribal Chief said:

That’s the thing. Giving up a mid to late round pick for a player who’s talented and approaching his first real payday, that is actually a solid exchange. It’s when first or second rounders are involved along with a contract extension   
 

Accoring to reports, Philly is the team that was interested and terry shot it down because he knew what was about to happen. Look at what Philly gave up for AJ Brown. I use that to say a 3 or a 4 given Calvin’s situation. The crime was nothing but it was something to the Shield. Teams overlook operate differently 

You could be right. Really don't know, but teams are going to lowball the Falcons from the jump.

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I've said every time the subject has come up Ridley's open-ended suspension is absurd. How can a league that has jumped into the sports gambling world with both feet and up to their ears come down on a player for a penny-ante bet on his own team? It harmed no one, nor did it detract from the Shield.

As pointed out, that this may end up with Watson getting a 6-game suspension for his outrageous situation and Ridley be out for a year is the height of injustice. It's ironic a league so obsessed with its image constantly demonstrates it has zero integrity on any matter of honor or of principle. 

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2 Things…

1 - NFL came down on Ridley way too harsh and I personally believe if Tom Brady was suspended 4 games due to balls being deliberately depressurized so he could grip better in bad weather, how is it worse betting on a random game when Ridley wasn’t even active AND the league is infused with gambling?  Suspend Ridley for 4 games. 
 

2 - After he is eligible to return to play we need to cut/trade IMMEDIATELY because he gave up on the team AFTER kinda sucking at football for the first half of the season. HE abandoned the Falcons and should not be welcomed back. 

Edited by Killing Floor
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1 minute ago, Swayzee said:

Yeah I agree with that. 

But the team did everything they could to be compassionate, and it seemed to be a slap in the face. No teams fanbase would have acted any different toward Ridley, after what went down.

By doing what exactly? Again, not saying anyone is lying but for all we know they reached out to him two times from the time he left til the end of the season. It’s easy to tell someone like D Led that they’ve done this and that for Calvin but who knows how far they actually went to show compassion. 
 

That’s something that we can’t speak on with real accuracy but have to take their word on

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21 minutes ago, Swayzee said:

Seemed like a nice hard working kid prior to last season. The fall from grace has been quick, but odd compared to other dumpster fires in the past.

If I had to guess, I think he already requested a trade too, and team will know that if it is fact....further dropping and already plummeting value! This is based on some odd social media things that were going on prior to the gambling thing.

The more I look at this, the more I am in agreement with you.  I really think Ridley was lost without Julio, and his heart was not in the ATL any longer.  I get that, pretty human really.  

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