As we've previously covered in this space, fantasy sports sites like Fanduel are no different than regular sports betting, whether the NFL wants to admit it or not. So why is Rob Gronkowski allowed to promote Fanduel while playing in the NFL?
Twitter user Phintastic pointed out today that he found it a little weird that Gronk was sending out tweets about things that merge the NFL with gambling in some way. Sure enough, Gronk's doin' just that.
Now, before we move forward here, just imagine for a moment what the backlash would be like if a soccer player had tweeted something similar given the reputation of FIFA. A more apt comparison would probably be an NFL player tweeting a link to an online sports book, which would cause an avalanche of hot takes as well. But I digress.
The NFL has taken a strong stance against gambling for quite some time now, a stance much stronger than it's taken against domestic violence during Roger Goodell's tenure as commissioner. However, Goodell has said publicly that he (and therefore the NFL) don't put fantasy football into the same category as traditional sports betting.
But why? According to many states in this great nation, it's a matter of skill. From Fanduel's web site:
Fantasy sports is considered a game of skill and received a specific exemption from the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA 2006). FanDuel uses exactly the same rules as any other season-long fantasy sports format, the only difference is that our games last only one day or one week.
To clarify, it's totally fine that fantasy sports site like Fanduel are legal. In fact, it's great. If that's your thing you like to bet on, you do you. But to say that fantasy sports require more skill than predicting the outcomes of sporting events is comically misguided.
Both require skill to win, but whether or not an individual player remains healthy for your fantasy team seems like a proposition that requires more luck than knowing the depth each team has and inevitably calls on in a NFL game, regardless of health. And while that's not really the point here, the lack of consistency from pro sports leagues on fantasy sports betting and conventional sports betting is just mind boggling.
Either way, whether or not you think Fanduel or conventional sports betting should be legal, though, NFL players probably shouldn't be promoting them.