On Monday, Atlanta Falcons’ wide receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended for the entirety of the 2022 season thanks to a five-day span in which he says he bet $1500 on NFL games.
I’m not here to delve into how the punishment doesn’t fit the crime, or how other players have been suspended for far fewer games for much more heinous acts, or how players participating in buy-in fantasy leagues is OK, but betting on games that the players aren’t even involved (Ridley bet on the Falcons but was away from the team at the time) in is blasphemy. All I’m here to discuss is how Ridley has been mistreated and no one believes any other player should fall victim to a similar fate.
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Well, I guess not.
Philadelphia Eagles’ fans were taking to Twitter to let the NFL know that their former first-round selection, wide receiver Jalen Reagor, was also betting on NFL games last season. Was he? There is zero evidence that he was, but these fans saw what happened to Calvin Ridley and were trying to ensure that Reagor met the same fate.
The narrative around Reagor is well-known at this point. Not only is he one of the most infuriating receivers to cheer for with a myriad of drops on his resumé, including two potential game-winning drops against the New York Giants in Week 12, but he was also drafted one pick before Justin Jefferson, who’s now widely considered a top-three receiver in the NFL.
Still, despite the underwhelming production and costly drops, Reagor was the team’s fourth-leading receiver with 33 receptions for 299 yards and a pair of scores. He was one of only five Eagles with multiple receiving touchdowns last season. Yeah, he’s not good, but he wasn’t so bad that the team would be better off without him, right? Sure, but it’s not always about what’s best for the team, sometimes it’s about sending a message.
In 2020, just three games into Reagor’s career, he was already stirring up a ruckus with Eagles fans. The team started the season 0-2-1 and were fresh off a tie against the lowly Bengals. Fans were rightfully upset. They expected more of Carson Wentz, Doug Pederson, and company. Reagor wasn’t having it though. He fired off a tweet (now deleted) aimed at Eagles fans saying “I see all that bs y’all saying, keep that same energy.” Reagor tried to backtrack with his next tweet: “Luv y’all,” but the damage had already been done. Reagor had lost his new city. He didn’t even play in that Week 3 tie to Cincinnati, so fans weren’t even upset at Reagor, but by inserting himself into the situation, he put the bull’s eye on his back, and ever since then, every drop, every poorly-run route, every misstep by Reagor is just another reason for fans to be upset with him.
It seems that displeasure has reached its boiling point. Fans could care less what happens with Reagor. They have DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, and Dallas Goedert, they don’t need Reagor anymore. Trade him, release him, have him get suspended after facing false accusations of betting on NFL games, doesn’t matter. The fans are done with him, and they’re not afraid to show it.