Goodell Says Fantasy Sports Should Be About Fun, Not Money
Legal Sports Report

NFL Commissioner Goodell Starting To Draw Line Between Season-Long, Daily Fantasy Sports

NFL Goodell DFS
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in comments Sunday that he sees a distinction between seasonlong and daily fantasy sports and that fantasy should be about fun, not money.

What Goodell said about DFS

Speaking at a fan forum before the game between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, Goodell touched on a wide variety of subjects, including the topic of daily fantasy sports.

What we know about his comments filtered in via social media, including from ESPN and St. Paul Pioneer Press reporters who were on site:

It appears that Goodell’s comments represented an increasing desire by the NFL to portray seasonlong and daily fantasy sports in a different light.

Eventually, his full comments came to light via ESPN:

What Goodell and the NFL have said about DFS previously

Before Sunday, Goodell has never been unequivocal in his support of DFS, but he also has never actively tried to distance the league from the industry, either.

In the past couple of months, he had touched on the subject of DFS a few times, and has stood behind the idea that daily fantasy is not gambling. In a radio interview in November:

“Whether it’s gambling or not, it’s a decision made by state authorities, attorney generals — they’ve made that determination. We do understand our fans are interested in playing daily fantasy. We just want to protect our fans and make sure there’s proper consumer protection in there for them, and we’ve encouraged that and we think it’s important that our fans have that protection.”

Sunday’s comments do mesh with what NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said as the possibility of Congressional hearings into the DFS industry arose. In a story at ESPN.com:

“We have been informing [Congressional] staff that the league and clubs have no equity interest,” McCarthy told ESPN in an email. “We explained the difference between the daily fantasy games and the fantasy offerings from the league. It is up to the members if it has a hearing. We were communicating with staff to make sure it had our information.”

In April, Goodell said the league was “taking a cautious approach” to the industry.

The NFL and DFS right now

Despite the words coming from Goodell and McCarthy that seem to keep DFS a bit at arm’s length, it’s clear that the NFL has had a growing relationship with DraftKings and FanDuel. The NFL does not have a direct equity stake in either company, standing in contrast to the NBA, MLB and NHL.

How is the NFL involved with DFS?

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Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.