Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of all NFL players against the fantasy football site FanDuel.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court of Maryland. According to a news release issued by Garcon’s representatives, the receiver alleges that “in the operation and sale of its online fantasy football gaming product, FanDuel knowingly and improperly exploits the popularity and performance of Garcon, along with all the other National Football League (“NFL”) players at offensive skilled positions without their authority or a valid license. In addition, through a comprehensive television advertising campaign, Defendant FanDuel routinely uses the names and likenesses of some of these NFL players without authorization to promote FanDuel’s commercial enterprise, collecting huge revenues from entry fees.”
The release went on to say “Neither Mr. Garcon nor the NFL players he seeks to act on behalf of have given their consent to FanDuel’s blatant misappropriation of their publicity rights. Nevertheless, FanDuel continues to promote and to operate its daily fantasy football gaming product on the backs of NFL players like Mr. Garçon, whose popularity and performance make FanDuel’s entire business model possible.”
In a statement issued by his agent, Garcon said, “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. FanDuel has taken the liberty to engage in these actions without my consent and without proper licensing rights. As a result of these activities, FanDuel daily fantasy contests have shown increasing revenues leading to large profits. Therefore, on behalf of myself as well as any other players who are being treated unjustly, I chose to file a complaint.
“I have been advised by my attorney’s not to speak any further on the topic while the case is pending. Any other questions regarding this matter can be addressed to my agent, Brad Cicala.”
The Washington Redskins have had a marketing agreement with FanDuel since last November. The Redskins were among the first NFL teams to partner up with the daily fantasy site. Sixteen of the 32 teams have marketing agreements with FanDuel.
Last season, Garcon was one of many players that had social media marketing deals with FanDuel. The players would tweet out invitations for fans to join their weekly fantasy competitions. But FanDeul wound up canceling those deals with players later in the 2014 season. This lawsuit filed by Garcon has nothing to do with that social marketing deal, according to his representatives. Those social marketing deals didn’t involve agreements for FanDuel to use Garcon or any other players in commercials.