It was announced on Monday that Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson would only face a six game suspension after facing more than 20 accusations of sexual misconduct.
The Falcons pursued Watson in the offseason before he chose a big-money deal from the Browns.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended for “at least” the entire 2022 season for betting $1500 on an NFL game last season while he was away from the Falcons for mental health reasons.
The disparity between the two suspensions doesn’t sit well with many around the NFL including Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson.
Patterson took to Twitter to post a picture of him and Ridley with the caption “Free my dawg!!”
The meaning behind Patterson’s message is crystal clear. If Watson is only going to get six games, the punishment for Ridley is out of proportion.
Ridley left the Falcons for the second and final time just before Atlanta suited up to play the Carolina Panthers on Halloween. Ridley didn’t return to the Falcons during the season but was back in the news when his season-long suspension broke.
The Falcons were in the process of trading Ridley, when they were informed by the NFL that there was an investigation into Ridley’s gambling.
The Falcons pulled out of any trade talks and Ridley remains suspended for the 2022 season.
Ridley turns 28 in December and has watched players like Christian Kirk, Deebo Samuel, Tyreek Hill, and Cooper Kupp all sign massive extensions this offseason.
Ridley’s suspension could end up costing him more than $50 million as he’ll have been out of the game for nearly two years, playing on a one-year deal, and in his age 30 season before he would get a new contract.
Meanwhile Watson, who signed a $250-million guaranteed contract, loses only six games of his base salary of $1 million for 2022… $353,000.
It’s easy to see why players like Patterson might consider the punishment to Watson and Ridley inequitable.