The NFL has "reached a settlement with a youth charity that sued the league for fraud over how the league enforced its gambling policy" at a casino near Las Vegas in '15, according to Brent Schrotenboer of USA TODAY. The agreement to close the federal court case "comes about a week after the charity asked for a federal judge to compel" NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to "testify under oath about the league's gambling policy." The charity, Strikes for Kids, sued the league last year, saying it was "misled by the league and lost revenue after being forced to relocate a bowling event for kids" in '15. More than 100 boys and girls were invited to the event at a bowling alley that was to "feature more than 25 NFL players as the star attraction." The NFL said that the problem was the location, as the event "originally was to take place at a 72-lane bowling alley inside the Sunset Station hotel and casino." Before the event took place, an NFL lawyer "notified the charity that this would violate the league's gambling policy, which forbids players and personnel from making promotional appearances at casinos." In response, the charity "moved to the Brooklyn Bowl, a bowling alley with only 16 lanes available but physically not located inside a casino building." The NFL said that this location was "OK even though it was still part of the LINQ casino promenade near the Las Vegas strip." To "push its case, the charity wanted to question Goodell about why one casino-related bowling alley was OK but the other was not." The charity said that it "lost money and sponsors because it was forced to move to a smaller venue" (USA TODAY, 6/17).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
Commissioner Roger Goodell said that 14 teams "sent representatives to Philadelphia" in April to observe the NFL Draft, including the Chiefs, according to Terez Paylor of the K.C. STAR. Goodell, while in K.C. for the Chiefs annual fantasy camp, said, "There's a tremendous amount of interest in all communities to host this. It has a tremendous platform, in that it gives exposure to communities, and it has a tremendous economic impact. But the event has become much bigger than it ever has, and it takes more infrastructure." Goodell said that market size will "not be a determining factor in deciding who hosts." Goodell: "It's not about big markets; to me, it's about passion, and having your own experience for the draft that's going to reflect well on this community and football, and they're going to be different." Meanwhile, Goodell said of his relationship with Chiefs' ownership in the wake of the league having to punish the team for its pursuit of WR Jeremy Maclin in '15, "I have a great connection to the Hunt family in general, and you can disagree without having that affect the relationship." He added of the team's punishment, "There's no residual effect from that, not at all. That's what we do in the NFL -- disagree without being disagreeable" (K.C. STAR, 6/17).
Fox NFL rules official Dean Blandino, formerly NFL Senior VP/Officiating, said that the league "wants to make sure it’s not too stuffy for millennials." Blandino said of relaxing celebration penalties, "That part of it is trying to reach the millennial and this new age of fans and having more fun. And there was a committee, I was part of that committee with different people at the league office in looking at our game, looking at in-game downtime, looking at how our fans watch the game, looking at eye-tracking technology and where their eyes are going" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 6/18).
TANK WARS: THE RINGER's Kevin Clark NFL teams tanking is "very real." Even if players are "still trying their best on every play, front offices have worked around it by making sure those players aren’t good enough to win games." The Browns "did it last year, the Bucs did it" in '14, and the Jets are "doing things that look and smell like a tank, including the tankiest move of all: denying a tank." If tanking is "here to stay -- and it’s looking ever more likely that it is -- the trend could have a devastating impact on the league’s 16-game schedule and four-team divisional structure" (THERINGER.com, 6/16).
MAKING PROGRESS: THE MMQB'S Peter King notes NFL teams currently have a record "15 minorities either coaching the team or running the personnel side." Fritz Pollard Alliance Chair John Wooten said it is "gratifying" and shows "how far we’ve come as a league." (MMQB.SI.com, 6/19).