In recent months, there have been few topics more controversial in the sports world than daily fantasy sites. Now, at least one of them has to deal with yet another potential threat to their long-term sustainability, as Washington Redskins wideout Pierre Garçon has elected to file a class-action lawsuit against the daily fantasy site FanDuel.
Garçon is suing for misuse of players’ names and likenesses, exploiting them without proper licenses or permissions. The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Maryland, notes that Garçon’s name appears frequently in FanDuel commercials.
“FanDuel has taken the liberty to engage in these actions without my consent and without proper licensing rights,” Garçon said in a statement. “As a result of these activities, FanDuel daily fantasy contests have shown increasing revenues leading to large profits.”
Garçon’s name is seen in several FanDuel advertisements, including being visible 53 times in a 28-minute infomercial for the daily fantasy site. Garçon also seemed to have a relationship with the site last year.
Interestingly, FanDuel’s major competitor, DraftKings, is not named in the lawsuit, which may have something to do with the fact that they have a partnership with the NFL Players Association. However, FanDuel does have a marketing partnership with the Redskins, as you may be familiar with the “FanDuel Lounge” if you frequent FedEx field.
Unsurprisingly, FanDuel believes they have done nothing wrong and may very well use the lawsuit filed by MLB players against fantasy sports company C.B.C. nearly a decade ago (which ruled in favor of the fantasy company because the player’s likeness and stats were in the public domain) in their defense.
“We believe this suit is without merit. There is established law that fantasy operators may use player names and statistics for fantasy contests,” FanDuel spokeswoman Justine Sacco said in a statement. “FanDuel looks forward to continuing to operate our contests which sports fans everywhere have come to love.”
Between Garçon’s lawsuit, the inside information scandal, and the fact that FanDuel and Draft Kings are being investigated by the FBI, we might be seeing the slow death of the daily fantasy sports craze.
Even though the games can be enjoyable if you play against friends and learn not to bet too big (you will almost certainly lose unless you are a professional), it’s probably for the best if for no other reason than we wouldn’t need to see an ad for them every 10 seconds anymore.