The NFL could be in some serious legal trouble if claims it approved Tony Romo’s fantasy football convention before shutting it down are proven true.
The league is being sued by Fan Expo LLC after Romo’s highly publicized fantasy football convention was torpedoed earlier this year. Thousands of fans had purchased tickets to the event, along with hotel bookings and other personel financial investments.
Furthermore, at least 60 NFL players had signed contracts to appear at the event, including Romo, Odell Beckham Jr., Rob Gronkowski and Dez Bryant.
Thanks to some diligent work by Pro Football Talk, we now know some of the details of the lawsuit, including the tasty morsel that the league not only approved the event but that it asked to be a part of it.
Then there was an abrupt 180-degree turn by the NFL, which allegedly “began to threaten and harass players who had committed to appear.”
Per Mike Florio, NFL Network’s fantasy guru Michael Fabiano was one of the men who was set to play a part in the convention. Then when the league’s attitude regarding the convention changed in early June, Fabiano was forced to back out “or risk losing his job.”
The league’s change of heart over the matter is supposedly due to its anti-gambling policy. Except that doesn’t really hold water when you consider that, while the event was due to be held in Las Vegas, there was to be no gambling on site. Furthermore, as the lawsuit points out, per Florio, the New Orleans Saints hold training camp at The Greenbrier, which features a gambling facility on site. There are also a number of other discrepancies that shoot down the notion the league shut this conference down because of any gambling concerns.
In the end, the lawsuit alleges the league “recogniz[ed] the commercial opportunities available to the NFFC, [and] likely decided to kill Tony Romo’s effort so that it could replace it with one of its own.”
This is the theory many in the media opined after the event was cancelled in the first place. Essentially, the NFL likely realized it could do the same thing as Romo and Fan Expo LLC while taking in all the profits.
The court of public opinion is already squarely on the side of Romo and the convention organizers, and it appears the league in this case may not have a leg to stand on when it comes to the rule of law.
Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports