Category Archives: Washington Redskins

Here’s why an NFL player is suing FanDuel, Ironically

pierre garcon, redskins, washington redskins, fanduel, fantasy football, nfl, draft kings
Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon looks on late in the fourth quarter in a game between the Redskins and New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on December 14, 2014 in East Rutherford, NJ. Photograph by Ricky Carioti — The Washington Post/Getty Images

It’s not about gambling.

Amidst ongoing scrutiny of daily fantasy sports companies, Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garçon, through his attorney, filed a class action lawsuit against FanDuel on Friday.

There has been a slew of class action lawsuits brought against FanDuel and its competitor DraftKings in the past few weeks, but they have been brought by users of the companies alleging unfair play by insiders. The lawsuits came in the wake of a major scandal over a DraftKings employee who won $250,000 playing on FanDuel.

But Garçon’s lawsuit is different. It’s not about insider play, nor is it concerned with whether daily fantasy sports is gambling, which has been the focus of recent regulatory scrutiny. It’s about player permission, and whether FanDuel illegally uses player names and likenesses. He has filed it “on behalf” of all NFL players, but for now the suit is coming only from Garçon.

According to a statement released by Garçon’s lawyers, the receiver argues that FanDuel, “knowingly and improperly exploits the popularity and performance of Garçon, along with all the other National Football League (“NFL”) players at offensive skilled positions without their authority or a valid license.”

The complaint also addresses FanDuel’s advertising: “Through a comprehensive television advertising campaign… FanDuel routinely uses the names and likenesses of some of these NFL players without authorization to promote FanDuel’s commercial enterprise.”

In other words, the lawsuit addresses two different realms: the product itself (FanDuel’s website and app, where it uses player names and a small photo of each) and the company’s ads. To the former complaint, there is some legal precedent that favors FanDuel, though it was in a different sport: in 2006 a federal judge ruled that fantasy sports leagues can use the names and likenesses of MLB players. The latter may be the stronger argument for Garçon: Last month, DraftKings scored a deal with the NFL Players’ Association that allows the company to use any NFL players in its advertisements with or without the player’s individual permission; this is why DraftKings isn’t part of Garçon’s lawsuit.

FanDuel has no such deal. It has not used Garçon’s face in its advertisements (in fact FanDuel has sought to differentiate its advertising from DraftKings by utilizing regular people, not celebrity spokespeople), but it has shown screens with his name listed among other players.

“I am bringing this lawsuit against FanDuel for using my name, image, and likeness in both daily fantasy contests and through advertising on TV ads and infomercials,” Garçon said in a statement. But as Twitter users were quick to point out on Friday, the suit represents a change of heart by the receiver, who repeatedly shilled for FanDuel in the past, up until one year ago.

It’s not about gambling.

Amidst ongoing scrutiny of daily fantasy sports companies, Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garçon, through his attorney, filed a class action lawsuit against FanDuel on Friday.

There has been a slew of class action lawsuits brought against FanDuel and its competitor DraftKings in the past few weeks, but they have been brought by users of the companies alleging unfair play by insiders. The lawsuits came in the wake of a major scandal over a DraftKings employee who won $250,000 playing on FanDuel.

But Garçon’s lawsuit is different. It’s not about insider play, nor is it concerned with whether daily fantasy sports is gambling, which has been the focus of recent regulatory scrutiny. It’s about player permission, and whether FanDuel illegally uses player names and likenesses. He has filed it “on behalf” of all NFL players, but for now the suit is coming only from Garçon.

According to a statement released by Garçon’s lawyers, the receiver argues that FanDuel, “knowingly and improperly exploits the popularity and performance of Garçon, along with all the other National Football League (“NFL”) players at offensive skilled positions without their authority or a valid license.”

The complaint also addresses FanDuel’s advertising: “Through a comprehensive television advertising campaign… FanDuel routinely uses the names and likenesses of some of these NFL players without authorization to promote FanDuel’s commercial enterprise.”

In other words, the lawsuit addresses two different realms: the product itself (FanDuel’s website and app, where it uses player names and a small photo of each) and the company’s ads. To the former complaint, there is some legal precedent that favors FanDuel, though it was in a different sport: in 2006 a federal judge ruled that fantasy sports leagues can use the names and likenesses of MLB players. The latter may be the stronger argument for Garçon: Last month, DraftKings scored a deal with the NFL Players’ Association that allows the company to use any NFL players in its advertisements with or without the player’s individual permission; this is why DraftKings isn’t part of Garçon’s lawsuit.

FanDuel has no such deal. It has not used Garçon’s face in its advertisements (in fact FanDuel has sought to differentiate its advertising from DraftKings by utilizing regular people, not celebrity spokespeople), but it has shown screens with his name listed among other players.

“I am bringing this lawsuit against FanDuel for using my name, image, and likeness in both daily fantasy contests and through advertising on TV ads and infomercials,” Garçon said in a statement. But as Twitter users were quick to point out on Friday, the suit represents a change of heart by the receiver, who repeatedly shilled for FanDuel in the past, up until one year ago.

This lawsuit has a lot in common with UCLA basketball alum Ed O’Bannon’s much-publicized class action lawsuit against the NCAA over compensation for college athletes. When O’Bannon first filed in 2009, his claim named EA Games as a co-defendant, for using player likenesses without consent. He was successful in that part of his suit; in 2014 the video game company settled for $40 million.

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Robert Griffin III ‘was a flat-out jerk’

Rodney Harrison: Robert Griffin III ‘was a flat-out jerk’

As we’ve seen, some observers believe that Kirk Cousins is treated differently than Robert Griffin III. Turns out this issue is also a topic in Chicago, where a local radio host brought it up during an interview with NBC Sports’ Rodney Harrison.

[Bomani Jones is the world’s biggest Cousins skeptic]

“I was not a fan of Robert Griffin III the last year and a half, last couple years,” Jason Goff (I believe) said this week during the Spiegel and Goff show on 670 The Score. “He was hurt, he seemed like he was saying all the wrong things. But Kirk Cousins is bad. And it seems like all the grenades that everyone is trying to fall over — because they were proved right that Robert Griffin III wouldn’t be a lasting, viable option — it seems like nobody is making the same comments about Kirk Cousins, who has been underwhelming at best, and who is getting to the point where he’s going to start losing football games for the Washington Redskins.”

“Well first and foremost, we see every week that there’s a lot of bad quarterback play, so I think we’re used to that,” Harrison replied. “What we don’t see is guys being jerks at the quarterback position. And Robert Griffin III was a jerk. He was a flat-out jerk. And when you look at Kirk Cousins, he comes and he says all the right things. And he’s trying, he’s fighting, his team is out there supporting him, he’s doing everything he can to win.

“We understand that you’re not going to be Tom Brady, you’re not a future Hall of Famer,” Harrison went on. “But I think we do respect that a guy’s out there fighting. You look at [Josh] McCown for the Cleveland Browns; he didn’t play particularly well a couple weeks ago, he comes back and throws for [457] yards or whatever it was. But I think we respect guys that work hard and try to do the right thing and stay humble. Robert Griffin didn’t do that, and he lost the respect of his teammates, as well as the guys in the media.”

[Aug. 31, 2015: Ryan Clark says RGIII lacks ‘meaningful locker room relationships’]

As early as last November, Harrison was advocating the Redskins cut ties with Griffin, far before this became a mainstream opinion.

“I’ve seen enough. I don’t think he fits in the system. I think you have to get rid of him,” Harrison said after Griffin’s poor showing against the Buccaneers. “They’ve surrounded [Griffin] with great weapons. I just think it comes down to RGIII. I don’t think he can read coverages. The offensive line is really bad. Defensively they gave up a lot of plays. They have a lot of issues on this team.”

By the way, you’ll recall that a great many folks — present company included — suggested that Griffin would be an unbearable distraction if he remained on Washington’s roster as the third quarterback this season. That seems to have been, um, incorrect.

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Do the Washington Redskins need to change their name?

Redskins planning stadium, won’t change nickname for move back to D.C.

Redskins president dismisses name change for new stadium
FILE – In this Dec. 31, 2014 file photo, Washington Redskins President and General Manager Bruce Allen speaks to reporters during an NFL football news conference at the Redskins Park in Ashburn, Va. Allen says the Washington Redskins will not reconsider whether to change the team’s nickname if it becomes a political barrier to building a new stadium. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

The Washington Redskins almost instantly didn’t like their stadium in Landover, Md., which must really stink for the taxpayers who paid $70.5 million for “land, sewer lines, highway interchanges and other infrastructure” for FedEx Field, opened in 1997.

The $180 million stadium itself was privately financed, but isn’t as nice as many of the NFL stadiums that have been built since. So the Redskins want a new stadium and are working on it now, even though their FedEx Field lease runs through 2026. It’s probably smart to get a jump on it now because it seems like there will be many layers of political battles along the way.

Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C. are possible locations for the stadium, but those who enjoy nostalgia and accuracy and want the Washington Redskins back in Washington might not get their wish. Team president Bruce Allen reiterated that the team will not change its controversial nickname if that’s a stipulation for them to move back to D.C.

He was asked if the team would consider changing its name to facilitate the move.

“No,” Allen said, according to CSN Washington.

So that’s that.

If the Redskins moved back to Washington D.C. it would almost certainly have to be on the site of old RFK Stadium. That land is owned by the National Park Service, which leased it to the city for the next 22 years, according to ESPN.com. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell is against the team’s nickname. So without a team name change, a move to D.C. might not be possible, because that department would need to approve the move. The nickname doesn’t seem to be such a big deal in neighboring states; ESPN points out that governors in Virginia and Maryland say they won’t pressure the team to change its name to move there. CSN Washington did say that some officials in Maryland have issues with the name, and the political climate in Virginia could change by the time serious stadium negotiations take place.

None of this is going to happen immediately, so the poor Redskins will have to grind it out for some more years in their 18-year-old stadium. The team is just starting talks with various government leaders, but wants to get the process going now because sometimes squeezing taxpayers of money to help out a billion-dollar team the process can take a while.

“Building a stadium is different than building a house,” Allen said, according to the Washington Times. “We wanted to get ahead of it and start doing the preliminary work. It’s not going to be a new stadium in the next 48 months, so we don’t have to worry about that.”

So, are the Washington Redskins racist or a sporting exception?

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him atshutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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