Washington wide receiver Pierre Garcon has filed a class-action lawsuit against daily fantasy sports company FanDuel and invited other NFL players to join the legal action. Garcon's lawsuit claims that FanDuel "improperly exploits popularity and performance" of NFL players without their permission to do so.
The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court of Maryland, alleges that FanDuel benefits from the performance and popularity of the players without a license and, through a "comprehensive television advertising campaign," FanDuel uses the "names and likenesses of some of these NFL players without authorization to promote FanDuel's commercial enterprise."
That's all coming from a press release issued by Garcon's agent, via Mike Jones of the Washington Post.
FanDuel provided a statement to SB Nation regarding Garcon's legal action, saying, "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."
Garcon alleges that he is acting on behalf of NFL skill position players who have had their publicity rights misappropriated by FanDuel. The release says FanDuel operates its business "on the backs of NFL players like Mr. Garcon, whose popularity and performance makes FanDuel's entire business model possible."
"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," Garcon said in a statement released through his agent. "FanDuel has taken the liberty to engaged [sic] 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."
DraftKings, a popular alternative and competitor of FanDuel, has a licensing agreement with the NFL Players Association. That agreement was signed one month ago, according to Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated. It's worth noting that the lawsuit is originating from Garcon, and not the NFLPA.
"I have been advised by my attorneys not to speak any further on the topic while the case is pending," Garcon said. "Any other questions regarding this matter can be addressed to my agent, Brad Cicala."
Disclosure: SB Nation has a partnership with FanDuel to produce content about daily fantasy sports and advertise their games.