The NFFC has been cancelled this year on account of the hosting city of Las Vegas and the "Perceived Association" of NFL players & gambling going together. Now for a moment I'm going to backtrack because not many people know what the NFFC even stands for let alone what it is about.
The National Fantasy Football Convention was an event being held for it's inaguaral season. Tony Romo was even the leading person behind this event, and clearly excited for the convention based on his promo video for it. Also, at least one player from every single NFL club was going to be in attendance, and even a few others not in the league anymore were also going to be involved. The NFFC was searching for groups that could attend the event, with media outlets and after some discussions Baltimore Beatdown had an invitation which I gladly accepted. I was informed that Kamar Aiken, our very own Baltimore Raven receiver would be attending the three day event, as well as previous runningback Willis McGahee being in attendance.
Personally, I can't explain the excitement when finding out I had the position to jump into such an exciting event, be given media credentials to enjoy the entire convention, and possibly score the dreamed one on one interview with a Baltimore Raven. I am breaking character as a "professional" but cloud nine was where Kyle Barber was staying for three days. Then the website homepage changed..
My world came crashing to a complete stop. It really was too good to be true. But something is worth speaking out. The sentence the NFFC has wrote makes this all a bunch of hypocrisy for the NFL.
"This is a direct result of the sudden and unexpected opposition taken by the NFL concerning player participation and their perceived association with gambling for an event in Las Vegas."
The NFL is worried about their players gambling for an event? Tony Romo sponsors and starts a National Fantasy Football Convention and they cancel it because of perceived association of gambling. Hullabaloo. Then why every fourth commercial on ESPN do they talk about FantasyKings or Fanduel. You can sponsor fantasy football gambling but the players get involved and you shut this down?
"According to the Nevada Gaming Commission, $3.2 BILLION was wagered in sports bets in the states casinos in 2011. Of that amount, $1.34 Billion or 41% was handled just for football" (NBCnews.com, Gillian Spear).
When Dez Bryant, teammate of Tony Romo found out about the cancelled event, immediately took to twitter with these remarks.
@tonyromo put that event together for the fans... Geniuses shit— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) June 6, 2015
@tonyromo don't understand whenever they make shit load of money off of us smh.....— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) June 6, 2015
Even Jason La Canfora took to twitter saying, "So the Saints can hold training camp at a resort w/a casino but players cant go to fantasy football convention at a locale owned by a casino?OK"
The outcome is very displeasing, as I personally managed to already plan a trip and acquire media credentials to such an outstanding event with amazing opportunites. Then the NFL freaks out and hits CTRL+Alt+Delete to force shut down the entire operation. Something is clearly wrong here.
The NFFC was planned back in March, and the NFL waits until June to take a stand and threaten NFL action. Why wait three months to say you can't do something?
My personal view is they wanted to see if this was going to be big. If the event would actually make money, or even entice people and companies alike to the event; if the convention could actually be worth something. They waited on this and when the NFFC did get big and became worth a good chunk of change the NFL threw a tantrum and pushed to cancel on account of jealousy for not having their personal wallets involved.
That is really what it boils down to when you look at all the evidence. The NFL has no real issue with gambling or with fantasy football before all of this. So many media outlets do fantasy leagues with their fans and the NFL has commercials around the fantasy football aspect of it's game. In regards to gambling, every state has some form of gambling with the exception of Hawaii and Utah. Having teams in the states where gambling is legal immediately means that players can choose to gamble at any time in a variety of ways, so it can't be that the NFL is terribly concerned with it's players gambling. What the NFL must care about then was that it wasn't cut in on the licensing for it while the NFL Players Association was, meaning that they missed out on a huge revenue stream that they would like to have. The NFL doesnt care about the players or the fans, just their final wallets like billionaires tend to do. And really, doesn't that scream Goodell to you?
Tony summarized it best, in 140 characters or less.
NFL has canceled our fantasy football convention this year in Vegas and that is disappointing. I'm sad for the fans and players.— Tony Romo (@tonyromo) June 6, 2015