Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo’s company Fan Expo LLC has sued the National Football League for interfering with its planned fantasy football expo this month in Las Vegas by threatening to discipline NFL players that participated.
The company—a partnership between Romo and a Dallas entrepreneur—filed the suit in Dallas County Court. Romo is not a party to the suit.
The National Fantasy Football Convention at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas was scheduled for earlier this month.
The company says the NFL originally supported the expo, but then—five weeks before the event—told players and league employees they could not participate because the event violates the league’s gambling policy.
The company said it informed the league that “the event was not taking place at a casino; that no gambling would take place at the event, and that children were allowed and encouraged to attend.”
“Just weeks before the inaugural event, the NFL placed a series of intimidating phone calls to players, their families, their agents, and the NFL Players Association, threatening that the players would be fined and potentially suspended from the NFL if they participated in the event,” the lawsuit states.
“Through these actions, the NFL tortuously interfered with the NFFC’s contracts with NFL players and NFL media personnel, as well as with the fans and participants who had planned and paid for tickets, travel, and hotel accommodations in order to attend the event.” The suit says. “As a direct result of the malicious and groundless threats made by the NFL, numerous players and media personnel withdrew their participation from the convention, and it became impossible for the NFFC to execute the July 2015 event.”
The company also accuses the league of hypocrisy, since the Detroit Lions have an official partnership with MGM Grand Detroit. The suit charges that the league “flagrantly and systematically” violates when it stands to “get a piece of the pie” financially.
More than 100 players were scheduled to attend the expo.
Romo has not commented ion the suit, but has criticized the league for disrupting the event and trying to scare players.
“That just seems silly to me. We could have been far more mature about this,” he told ESPN. “That makes you think it was just about money, and that’s disappointing.”