Holler: NFL flexes its muscle again

The NFL allegedly took a bold new step in warning players and those allegations make the league look silly.

A simple rule of any sort of male-dominated activity, be it sports or throw-downs – don’t involve the mothers – appears to have been violated.

There is something sacred about a mother-son bond that can often be the source of problems if someone invokes mom into the equation.

Fantasy football players were expected to have a summit in Las Vegas in July, as the initial National Fantasy Football Convention that was supposed to take place the Sands Expo and Convention Center was abruptly cancelled and rescheduled for next year in Los Angeles.

The event was going to include some NFL heavy hitters who were on their own time in July – headliner Tony Romo and scheduled appearances from Pro Bowlers like DeMarco Murray, Rob Gronkowski and Le’Veon Bell. It was going to be more than 100 current and former players meeting fantasy football players.

But it isn’t going to happen.

Why? The NFL is flexing its muscle by claiming the players who take part in activities that promote or are sponsored by casinos are subject to fines and suspensions. The players the league knew were going to be involved in the project were contacted and warned that if they took part in the program they would be subject to fines or suspensions.

What made the NFL look even worse is the fact that the Sands Expo and Convention Center doesn’t have gambling and the extra steps the NFL allegedly took to make sure that the players knew the league was serious in its opposition.

The league allegedly had officials calling the players’ moms and dads.

Although those allegations were denied by the NFL, a source said that moms and dads of players were contacted and told of the potential ramifications in advance.

The question that is in play here is that a convention center in a city rife with gambling is treading a thin line of legality. The NFL has a longstanding relationship with gamblers because, more than any other sport, novice gamblers think they know football and winning and losing is much easier in the NFL than it is for gamblers who focus on the college game or the other major three sports. Things happen in football. The better team doesn’t always win, much less cover the spread.

The problem with the NFL’s position on this – beyond allegedly informing parents to deter players from participating (it worked) and loosely enforcing a rule that may or may not apply to this convention – is that, despite initial opposition, the NFL has embraced fantasy football, which, in its loosest form, is gambling. Fantasy football players put in money and the winner scoops the cash and turns a profit. It is almost the definition of gambling.

For those who planned to attend the NFFC, they’re left out in the cold because the NFL in its attempt to protect The Shield has pushed its legal bounds once again.

Whether there is a lawsuit that will come from this – the organizers clearly lost money by a cancellation – or not, if many of us were sitting on a jury and were informed that the mothers of players were called to dissuade their sons from being involved, the NFL better get its checkbook ready … again.


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