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With the rapid growth of sports betting, the coffers of states, leagues and teams swelled quickly.
According to Sports Business Journal, New York and New Jersey combined to handle over $3 billion in January bets alone. With 21 states reporting for January, that number jumps to $8.357 billion. And if you add in Illinois, Arizona and Wyoming, which haven’t reported their results yet, that number inches closer to $10 billion.
With companies like Caesars, MGM and Draft Kings pumping sponsorship dollars into states and sports, CFOs are salivating at their inflated bottom lines.
But with that money comes great risk, temptation and poor decisions.
On Monday, Calvin Ridley manifested the latter.
Yesterday the NFL announced they had suspended the Atlanta Falcons receiver, who already missed the majority of last season due to mental health issues, indefinitely but for at least the 2022 season.
“There is nothing more fundamental to the NFL’s success — and to the reputation of everyone associated with our league — than upholding the integrity of the game,” wrote NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a letter to Ridley about his suspension. “This is the responsibility of every player, coach, owner, game official, and anyone else employed in the league. Your actions put the integrity of the game at risk, threatened to damage public confidence in professional football, and potentially undermined the reputations of your fellow players throughout the NFL.”
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