Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo plans to expand on his comments during the media session following organized team activities on Wednesday.
But he made it known during a national radio interview on Tuesday that greed was at the root of the NFL’s decision to force the cancellation of the Romo-backed National Fantasy Football Convention, which was set for next month in Las Vegas.
The event, which was to involve more than 100 NFL players, was to be held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, which is the basis for the league’s concerns.
Romo, who is an investor in the NFFC, is not buying that answer because of the NFL’s inconsistency in dealing with such matters. He believes it’s about money and the fact the NFL is not getting any.
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“They talk about how no players or NFL personnel are to be associated [with casinos], well, I’m like, that doesn’t really make sense,” Romo said on ESPN Radio Tuesday morning. “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.
“It seems like a no-brainer to me, especially because it really wasn’t going to be something that I didn’t think was going to break the NFL’s heart money-wise. But obviously they have an issue.”
Romo is also disappointed that the NFL waited until a month before the event to express its displeasure. The NFFC has been promoted for months and nary a word was said when it was initially planned. Doing it now has cost fans money. Many had already booked travel plans.
“It’s just a very frustrating process that went down, when all they had to do was literally call me or actual event organizers at the NFFC, and that never took shape,” Romo said. “Instead, it was about almost scaring the people attending the event. That just seems silly to me. We could have been far more mature about this. That makes you think it was just about money, and that’s disappointing.”
“It’s like when you’re in high school and you don’t get invited to the party, it makes you feel bad. If they really wanted to just be a part of it, all they had to do was call and ask. It would have been a lot easier than going about the process the way they did.”
The NFL had a different take.
Per the NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, the league didn't find out about the event until two weeks ago and responded by contacting one of the organizers as well as the NFL Players Association. And it wasn't about money, only location.
"The issue isn’t with the convention or fantasy football, but the location of the scheduled event at a casino," McCarthy told the Star-Telegram Tuesday. "We became aware of this issue two weeks ago and contacted the event organizers. We told one of the organizers about the issue concerning current players and said that they could have the event at another location place not associated with a casino. Once again, that's the issue - the location of the event. The players’ agents and union are aware of the policy. We reminded the players’ association last week of the longstanding policy re: current players and team personnel."
The league's stance on the location is in the NFL policy manual and well known by the union and agents: "Players and NFL personnel may not participate in promotional activities or other appearances in connection with events that are held at or sponsored by casinos."
NFFC organizers plan to hold the event in Los Angeles in July 2016.
Clarence E. Hill Jr., 817-390-7760