The NFL shutting down a Fantasy Football convention in Las Vegas reeks of greed. You, me and Tony Romo can smell it.
A week after the league contacted the NFL Players Association to alert them the planned event was in violation of policy in which players are prohibited from promotional activities in connection with casinos, Romo went on ESPN Radio Tuesday to vent his frustration.
The National Fantasy Football Convention – which would have included Romo and 100 other NFL players including Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray – was scheduled to take place July 10-12 at the Sands Convention Center, which does not have on-site gambling.
“It's like when you're in high school and you don't get invited to the party, it makes you feel bad,” Romo said on The Herd with Colin Cowherd. “If they really wanted to just be a part of it, all they had to do was just call and ask. It would've been a lot easier, I think, than going about the process the way they did. We understand that these things come about and there's big money involved sometimes from the NFL's perspective. If we had known about the issue of the place or thought that was something that could've been an issue, the NFL could've told us that right away. That's where it makes it interesting.”
Translation: It’s a b.s. move, and it’s all because the NFL saw a big pie and wanted a piece of it.
Just watch, by next summer there will be an almost identical convention – maybe even held in Las Vegas – sponsored by the NFL itself. It’s probably the most outspoken Romo has ever been against the league, and I don’t blame him one bit.
The event was announced in March and Romo said the league’s first communication with organizers was the message to cancel through the NFLPA.
“The NFL never called me or my agency or the NFFC,” Romo said. “They just went about the process of communicating to the players and the NFLPA. I think when that takes shape I think you understand that the NFL was really trying to not necessarily cancel the event. I think more than that they were trying to probably persuade people not to attend the event.”
It’s just bogus, because while shutting this big event down because of gambling concerns, the NFL allows personal, paid appearances in Las Vegas by the likes of Rob Gronkowski and even approved a recent sponsorship agreement between the Lions and a casino, the MGM Grand Detroit.
“They talk about how no players or NFL personnel are to be associated with casinos, but that doesn't really make sense,” Romo said. “There's just far too many cases and it does make it sound sometimes that it's an issue about money, which is disappointing because we were just trying to get the fans to hang out with players.”
At the event Romo and appearing players were to sign autographs and take part in Q&A sessions with fans of Fantasy Football. Bottom line: The convention was a great idea. So good, in fact, that now the NFL will use its power to profit from it.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.