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NFL Player Pierre Garçon Is Suing FanDuel

Garçon plays for the Washington Redskins, a team in a paid partnership deal with FanDuel.

Matt Hazlett / Getty Images

Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garçon is suing daily fantasy sports company FanDuel. The reason? Garçon says the company is unfairly using images of NFL players in its commercials.

The lawsuit, an image of which was tweeted out by Fox Sports reporter Mike Garafolo, was filed in Maryland by Garçon “on behalf of all NFL players whose names and likenesses have been misappropriated by daily fantasy football operator FanDuel.”

It goes on to say that “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.” It’s unclear what damages Garçon is asking for, and his lawyers could not be immediately reached.

A spokesperson for FanDuel shared the following statement with Re/code: “We believe this suit is without merit. There is established law that fantasy operators may use player names and statistics for fantasy contests. FanDuel looks forward to continuing to operate our contests, which sports fans everywhere have come to love.”

A few interesting things worth noting about the suit:

  • Garçon’s team, the Redskins, is currently in a paid partnership with FanDuel. That means FanDuel is paying the team to advertise inside the stadium and serve as the team’s “official daily fantasy” partner. Here’s a FanDuel sponsored video on the team’s website showing former tight end Chris Cooley reading off his fantasy football tips.
  • It doesn’t appear that Garçon’s image is actually included in any of FanDuel’s advertisements. That being said, there are a lot of them, so it’s possible we’ve missed one somewhere.
  • DraftKings, another popular daily fantasy business, has apparently been saved from the lawsuit thanks to a licensing agreement it has in place with the NFL Players Association. A message left with the NFLPA was not immediately returned.

Regardless, the news is not good for FanDuel, which has been dealing with all kinds of bad press for over a month as the daily fantasy industry has come under fire from regulators over its legality. A hit from a player on one of its partner teams, legitimate or not, doesn’t help.

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