Falcons: Calvin Ridley and Deshaun Watson suspensions reveal where NFL’s priorities lie

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Calvin Ridley’s suspension is making headlines again after reports surfaced of Deshaun Watson’s potential suspension.

The NFL came down with a swift and harsh punishment for Ridley‘s gambling fiasco — a one-year suspension — where he placed a couple of wagers on the Falcons to win. 

Now, the focus has turned to Watson, who was almost traded to the Falcons before the Browns gave him an absurd record-breaking contract. The league is deliberating on what to do with Watson, who has been accused of 25+ instances of sexual harassment and assault. Reports suggest the Cleveland quarterback is facing a suspension anywhere from two to eight games.

Astonishingly, an alleged serial sexual assaulter will be suspended for nearly half the games as Ridley, who placed several small-money bets on his OWN team to WIN while he wasn’t playing.

The league announced the suspension of Ridley for “at least a year,” which means he’ll have to apply to be reinstated before he can play again. What makes this even worse is Ridley placed the bets on a sports betting app that is partners with the NFL. Dumb on his part, but it’s still ironic that the league is profiting billions off of it.

It just goes to show where the league’s priorities lie, and it’s not with the victims of sexual and physical assault. The NFL has long been the poster child of less-than-reasonable punishments for players accused of domestic violence, but god forbid a player gambles. Moreover, Roger Goodell has been notoriously shady in dealing with the CTE dilemma of former players.

The NFL isn’t going to lessen the punishment handed down to Ridley without the NFLPA stepping in, which they’ve shown no inclination to do. The league wants to make an example of Ridley so that no player even thinks about wagering on professional football. However, the NFLPA will do all they can to lessen the suspension of Watson because of the light punishments given in similar situations to owners like Robert Kraft, etc.

The Falcons likely won’t welcome Ridley back in 2023 because this new regime seems like they have a zero-tolerance policy on these sorts of situations as they try to establish a new culture in Atlanta. It’s an unfortunate situation regarding Ridley’s suspension. Still, the league will take the PR nightmare associated with Deshaun Watson’s less-than-fair suspension over a player gambling on games to “protect the shield.”

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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