Star NFL wide receiver Calvin Ridley provides heartfelt apology: ‘I f***ed up’


Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley was just reinstated by the NFL after serving a year-long suspension.

Then a member of the Atlanta Falcons, the former 1,000-yard receiver was suspended after betting on NFL games. To some, the idea of a mere one-year ban didn’t make sense given that Ridley was allegedly betting on his own team.

After being reinstated by the league, the former first-round pick from Alabama opened up big time in an article on The Players’ Tribune. To say that Ridley is sorry for his actions would be an understatement. He truly does seem to be apologetic for making such a big mistake.

“To the football world, and everyone who loves this game:

I f***ed up. I’m not here to sugarcoat anything. In 2021, I made the worst mistake of my life by gambling on football,” Calvin Ridley wrote about betting on NFL games.

Ridley goes on to talk about how he was battling anxiety and depression at the time he made such poor decisions.

“This is hard for a dude like me to talk about, but I want to be real with everybody. Back then, I was depressed. I was battling anxiety. I didn’t even want to leave my house. Football was the only thing that ever gave my life meaning, and I couldn’t even find any joy in that at the time. Honestly, I couldn’t even get up off the chair in my living room. Everything was just … dark,” Ridley wrote.

The fact that Ridley is opening up about anxiety and depression is yet another sign of a culture change around the professional sports world. We’ve seen others open up about it on a near never-ending loop recently. And in reality, it’s refreshing. There used to be a certain malignancy in society to talking about these all-too often “taboo” subjects.

Ridley’s decision to speak out on it is yet another sign that things are shifting to a more inclusive environment in this regard.

Heartfelt apology and note from NFL star Calvin Ridley

calvin ridley, atlanta falcons

Ridley wasn’t done airing it out to the masses as he continued with his lengthy essay. In talking about a foot injury he suffered during his time with the Atlanta Falcons, Ridley opened up about the use of painkillers and how it impacted his family.

In particular, he talked about a cycle of dependency as the wide receiver was taking pills to manage the pain and how it led to a dark time in his life.

“After practice, once that painkiller wears off, you still have to come home and be a husband and a father. My daughter don’t care. She’s two years old, and she’s running straight up to me, ‘Dadddyyyyyy!!!’ She’s wanting to bake some cookies in the Fisher-Price oven, you know? But I’m coming home broken. I can’t even do anything but lie around in a dark room,” Calvin Ridley on painkiller use.

In talking with numerous football players about Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and other ills that the game has brought; this story is too common. But unlike others, there’s still time for Ridley to turn the corner.

Years removed from his days with the Atlanta Falcons, Ridley now has a new lease on life. He was dealt to the Jacksonville Jaguars ahead of the NFL trade deadline last November and has a much better outlook on where things are headed.

“I know I have a debt to pay back to the game. But when y’all talk about the name Calvin Ridley in 10, 20, 30 years … I’m gonna make sure it rings out for the right reasons,” Ridley wrote.

Too often, we look at these professional athletes through the lens of stats and fantasy sports. We don’t take into account that they are human just like us. They are dealing with things in their personal lives. They have family dysfunction. They have the same fears and hopes as the rest of us.

Calvin Ridley’s open letter tells us a lot more about the young receiver than the 1,374 yards he put up for the Atlanta Falcons back in 2019 could ever. We’re hoping for the best for him when it comes to the receiver’s personal life, mental health and future in the NFL.

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