Sunday, February 25, 2024

Calvin Ridley pens Players’ Tribune essay about betting on the NFL

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Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley is reinstated in the NFL.

He was suspended for the entire 2022 season because he gambled on the Atlanta Falcons while he was an injured member of the Falcons team.

On March 8, 2023, Ridley wrote a deeply personal account of his life and what led up to the mistake he openly and honestly takes ownership of in The Players’ Tribune.

He wrote in part:

“I have always owned my mistakes and this is no different. I have great respect for the game and am excited for the opportunity to restart my career in Jacksonville.”

Here are a few of the takeaways from his essay.

1. He Played The 2020 Season With A Broken Foot

Ridley described the physical pain he endured in 2020 playing with a broken foot.

He took shots and painkillers to remain competitive and somehow managed to score 9 touchdowns and accumulate over 1,300 yards.

2. The 2021 Robbery Of His Home Was Traumatic

Ridley was among the victims of a gang-related robbery spree in Atlanta in 2021.

He described the jarring experience of seeing the video of the robbers entering his house with guns.

Though he was not home and could replace what was taken, the fear that his wife and he experienced in the aftermath of the robbery with a young child created more anxiety for Ridley.

3. He Speaks About A Stress-Filled Childhood

Ridley is the oldest of his siblings and at eight years old he had to comfort them when he himself did not know what was happening.

His aunt took Ridley and his three younger brothers to a foster home.

The trauma of those experiences laid dormant within Ridley.

Until anxiety and depression overtook him with the broken foot and robbery.

He was so depressed he did not even think twice about what he was doing when he added the Falcons game to some NBA games he was betting on.

Ridley got into therapy and has been able to deal with all of the underlying issues he experienced in his 28 years of life.


Ridley blames no one but himself for the mistake.

He also does not have any hostility toward the Falcons for the difficulties he encountered there.

Ridley is grateful to be back and to clear his name from the gambling incident.

He wants fans to remember him years from now for his play on the field and not the mistakes he made off of it.

Ridley sharing his story with brutal honesty and accountability had to be therapeutic for him.

Fans who read it and understand all he was dealing with will gain a newfound appreciation for him and will be cheering very loudly for him next season.

His new teammates are already rallying around him (Ridley was traded from Atlanta to Jacksonville in November 2022) including quarterback Trevor Lawrence who tweeted:

“Powerful stuff bro. Glad you’re a part of the family. We’ve got your back.”

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