Tony Romo was mighty unhappy in June when the NFL axed the Cowboys QB’s fantasy football event in Las Vegas weeks before kick-off.
Now, it’s the subject of a lawsuit filed in Dallas County on Monday: The Fan Expo v. National Football League, Robert Wilonsky of the Dallas Morning News reports.
The Fan Expo, consisting of Romo and “a Dallas entrepreneur and a team of fantasy football experts,” per the lawsuit, wants more than $1,000,000 from the league after it canceled the three-day National Fantasy Football Convention scheduled to take place in July at a convention center attached to the Venetian in Vegas. Pettit confirms to The Dallas Morning News this afternoon that Romo is “part-owner” in The Fan Expo.
We asked if Romo felt, well, awkward suing the league. Pettit said, “I can’t speak for Tony on that. But ultimately those who could make a decision for the entity made that decision” to file the lawsuit on Monday. She says Romo is not going to make a statement concerning the complaint.
So instead we turn to the lawsuit, which says, “This case is about the NFL’s blatant and premeditated sabotage of an event designed to bring together the very people who are the backbone of the NFL — the players and the fans.”
The league claimed it canceled the event because of its location. Then, and now, Romo wasn’t buying it: “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 last month. “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.”
According to the lawsuit the event was scheduled to feature about 100 pro ballers, among them Dez Bryant, Odell Beckham Jr., Rob Gronkowski, Julio Jones, DeMarco Murray, Alshon Jeffery and other household names. And initially, the suit says, the league was on board and even involved.
But “in early June, the NFL had an abrupt change of heart due, likely to the success experienced by the NFFC,” says the complaint. “On June 3, 2015, less than five weeks before the event was to take place, the NFL began to threaten and harass players who had committed to appear at the event.
Specifically, the NFL threatened player fines and suspensions if the players agreed to the terms of their appearance contracts with the NFFC. By waiting until the last minute to take this position, the NFL ensured they could inflict the maximum negative impact on the NFFC.
On or about Wednesday, June 3, 2015, Brook Gardiner, Senior Labor Relations Counsel at National Football League, placed a phone call to representatives with the Cowboys. Gardiner represented that NFL players would be fined or suspended if they attended the NFFC event in Las Vegas.”
The suit says this wasn’t about gambling, since “no gambling would take place at the event [and] children were allowed and encouraged to attend the event.” Instead, says the suit, the league wanted to shut down something in which it didn’t have a stake, simple as that.