A still overwhelming betting rule | News, Sports, Jobs

By Tim Dahlberg

The Associated Press

Calvin Ridley had no inside information and, apparently, no idea how to bet. In other words, he was like millions of other neophyte bettors lured by the promises of wealth from sports betting operators and the leagues they coexist with.

Except Ridley plays for the Atlanta Falcons. And this is where things get a little dicey.

Almost everything happens these days in the Wild West of sports betting, but there’s still one big no-no that remains sacrosanct: you don’t bet on your own league and you certainly don’t bet on your own team.

Ridley did both, and it cost him one of the worst bad beats of all time. Suspended Monday for at least a year by hypocritical chief Roger Goodell, the wide receiver loses $11 million in wages for what he said were $1,500 in bets made while on mental health leave of the team.

The bets were relatively small and the crime didn’t seem much worse. Ridley wasn’t even in his team when he made the bets – which various reports said were long bets up to eight teams – and he certainly wasn’t trying to fix the games.

It wasn’t in 1963, when Green Bay halfback Paul Hornung and Detroit Lions defensive tackle Alex Karras were suspended indefinitely for betting on NFL games and associating with “known thugs”. Ridley made the phone bets in Florida where it was legal through a casino that sponsors the Miami stadium.

Like most budding gamblers, he just wanted a little action.

“I know I was wrong” Ridley tweeted after his suspension was announced. “But I get 1 year lol.”

A year seems a bit excessive, especially in an era when the NFL and its teams not only condone betting but encourage it — at least among the general population. A Sunday didn’t go by last season without constant TV reminders about betting partners and sponsorships as the league and industry settled into a profitable partnership that neither saw coming for a few years. earlier.

At almost every commercial break, we listened to an assortment of characters from Julius Caesar to the Manning family telling us to sign up and bet, which former coach and TV analyst Tony Dungy duly noted.

“When we as a league encourage everyone to bet on our games, advertise bets on our players’ game stats, make lots of money from gambling sites and do everything what we can to get our young people to embrace the game – We can’t be surprised when that happens,” Dungy tweeted after the suspension was announced.

If that sounds a bit awkward, it is. The morality police who once ranted about the misdeeds of gambling are now taking advantage of the new craze.

Indeed, Ridley may have done Goodell a favor by allowing him to take a tough stance against player betting while not interfering with the flow of money from betting sites to NFL coffers.

Here’s a short version of the new order rules if you’re still confused: Betting is fine. Player bets are bad.

“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 Goodel.

Let’s hope Goodell keeps that lofty premise in mind as the league investigates former Dolphins coach Brian Flores’ allegations that Miami owner Stephen Ross offered him $100,000 a loss a while ago. has a few years so that the team has enough tanks to get the first draft pick.

Ross denies the allegations made in a lawsuit against the league and no one else has come forward publicly to back them up. But game-fixing goes to the heart of sports betting fears, and while Ridley can be suspended for a year for his long bets, Ross should be kicked out of the league if enough evidence emerges to back up the claims.

The bottom line is that sports bettors want the same things ordinary fans want from the NFL – games that are level and above suspicion, uncontaminated by players, owners or the guy putting the money on. air in soccer balls.

This means that no bets are made by players, coaches or anyone else on the pitch. This means there is no tampering from owners or GMs or even Goodell himself. That means being more transparent about everything from injuries to suspicious calls, so those watching don’t automatically think something is fishy.

It also means punishing those who break the rules.

That includes Ridley, no matter how bad his bets were.

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