A prominent gaming law attorney says we should expect a decision before Labor Day in the legal fight over New Jersey’s sports betting plans. Alan B. Koslow, who chairs the gaming and entertainment division of the Becker & Poliakoff law firm, wrote an analysis earlier this month of the recent face-off in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals between New Jersey’s legal champions and their counterparts representing the US Department of Justice, the NCAA and the four major professional sports leagues. Koslow says that because this was an “expedited” appeal, he expects the decision to be similarly expedited, meaning we could have an answer by the time the National Football League kicks off its 94th season on Thursday, September 5 in Denver.
Even forgetting the court ruling for a moment, the NFL may find the time between now and kickoff is a little more distracted than usual after Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew (pictured right) put the virulently anti-sports-betting NFL’s questionable support for fantasy sports in an even more dubious spotlight. On Wednesday, Jones-Drew went on the Mad Dog Radio Sirius XM 86 morning show with hosts Evan Cohen and Steve Philips, where the Jaguar related an anecdote about how he and former Jaguars fullback Greg Jones were avid fantasy football participants, to the point where they enlisted the team’s equipment guys to provide them with updates on other players’ performances during games.
In a transcript of the radio appearance first brought to light by Larry Brown Sports, Jones-Drew said it was during one Jaguars game when he learned that if he scored a touchdown, his fantasy team would beat Jones’ fantasy squad. Sure enough, the Jags got into a situation on their opponents’ one-yard line, and Jones-Drew was assigned the task of punching the ball in for the score. According to Jones-Drew, “I’m like, ‘Greg, don’t do it.’ And he looked at me and he winked. And I was like ‘Greg.’ It’s not time to play. This is bigger than [winning in fantasy]. Let’s not do this.” Prompted by the DJs as to what Jones’ wink meant, Jones-Drew said it indicated that his fullback “wasn’t going to block the guy!”
Sports Illustrated has since done some statistical sleuthing, coming up with two instances of Jones-Drew carrying the ball in goal-line situations while he and Jones were teammates, one of which was stopped at the one-yard line and another in which Jones-Drew lost seven yards. The Jags’ official Twitter account has dismissed Jones-Drew’s account as “a joke,” but somehow, we doubt the NFL is laughing.