Rob Gronkowski (Gronk) of the New England Patriots has once again drawn attention from the national media, but this time, not in a positive way. Recently, Gronk hosted a “booze cruise” trip from Miami to the Bahamas, which took place from February 19th-22nd. The four-day party took was located on a Norwegian Cruise Line, which gave Gronkowski’s fans and attendees full advantage of the Norweigan’s famed ‘Casinos at Sea.’ Photos from the cruise show fans gambling at the on-board casino. The NFL had direct knowledge of the cruise and its ties to gambling for more than seven months leading up to the event; however, the NFL took no action to stop Gronk.
This cruise incident “comes to the surface” at a particularly sensitive time for the NFL. The NFL is in muddy-waters surrounding the topic of gambling, after the league shut down a fantasy football event, hosted by Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. The event was to be held at a Las Vegas casino, but the NFL felt that this event went against the league’s policy on gambling. The policy states:
Bribes and Gambling
Among the types of conduct detrimental to the NFL and professional football that call for serious penalties are the following:
- Accepting a bribe or agreeing to throw or fix a game or illegally influence its outcome;
- Failing to promptly report any bribe offer or any attempt to throw or fix a game or to illegally influence its outcome;
- Betting on any NFL game;
- Associating with gamblers or with gambling activities in a manner tending to bring discredit to the NFL.
Any such conduct may result in severe penalties, up to and including a fine and/or suspension from the NFL for life.”
In an amended petition filed Monday in a Texas court, Gronkowski’s event was specifically mentioned in the Romo v. NFL complaint. In trying to draw comparisons to the “gambling cruise”, the NFCC claims that Gronkowski’s event, which was directly linked to a gambling, was not shut down, where as Romo’s was. Romo is suing after the league gave the event approval throughout the planning process, only to force the NFFC to pull the plug on it by precluding any players or other league employees from attending. The NFL cites their policy on gambling, however, Romo and company argue that the policy is ambiguous and does not directly apply.
Part four of the policy is what the league will base their argument on. The league, in both instances, will say that they cannot associate with gamblers or gambling activities, as they would discredit the league. Unlike in Romo v. The NFL, the league did not stop the Gronkowski’s event from taking place. The NFL had knowledge (for up to 7 months prior) of the alleged “gambling event” and did absolutely nothing to stop it from happening. It is not likely that Gronkowski will face any consequences for his “booze-cruise” at this point, as the NFL allowed it to take place. However, if the league takes legal action against Gronkowski, he will have to rebut the claim that the event “discredited the NFL”. At this point, Pats fans can breath easy as there doesn’t seem to be any signs of “cruise-gate” blowing up the national media.
Romo’s event was centered on fantasy football and gambling in a social atmosphere. This is not quite like Gronk’s party cruise, with gambling available to those who desired it.
At this point, Pats fans can breath easy as there doesn’t seem to be any signs of “cruise-gate” blowing up the national media.