There have been some rather poor references to 9/11 in sports over the years, from on-air comments to ill-advised tributes and promotions. The latest to take some criticism is from DraftKings. Several Twitter users posted images from Sunday night to Monday morning of a since-removed DraftKings “Never Forget” parlay featuring New York teams playing on 9/11.
Update: DraftKings has since apologized. Here’s a statement they sent to Michael Silverman of The Boston Globe:
“We sincerely apologize for the featured parlay that was shared briefly in commemoration of 9/11. We respect the significance of this day for our country and especially for the familys of those who were directly affected.”
Our original post continues below:
Counting down the minutes until DraftKings pulls this “never forget” 9/11 parlay pic.twitter.com/dLZftfFXMs
— Nick Guy (@thenickguy) September 11, 2023
This is absolutely INSANE from DraftKings. A 9/11 PARLAY??? pic.twitter.com/rKygzZzpEC
— coop (@LocalLegendCoop) September 11, 2023
— RUDMAN (@TheNickRudman) September 11, 2023
It would be un-American for me not to bet the Never Forget parlay thank you Draftkings ?♂️ pic.twitter.com/oasoeTVxCt
— Bill Ari (@ImBillRay) September 11, 2023
DraftKings is wildin man ? pic.twitter.com/bbqwAwRVbK
— brandie (@brandieeemac) September 11, 2023
— Bobby Hare (@Bobby_Hare) September 11, 2023
I’m currently trying to never forget pic.twitter.com/AzB50bTIkw
— HowTheProsDoIt (@HowTheProsDo) September 11, 2023
Of course, DraftKings is far from alone in the sports world in making criticized decisions around 9/11. Amongst the many examples over the years, Shaun O’Hara compared Tom Brady’s retirement to 9/11 (and the John F. Kennedy assassination) on NFL Network earlier this year, while a MLB on Fox broadcast last summer put Baseball Night In America graphics over the 9/11 memorial. In 2012, CBC’s Ron MacLean compared hockey players to 9/11 first responders, and in 2013, Bobby Valentine lost out on a MLB on TBS postseason gig after making 9/11 comments Keith Olbermann repeatedly roasted. But still, it’s quite something to see a sportsbook operator promote this as a special parlay.
There are some more appropriate ways to look back at 9/11 and its sports impacts. Around the 20th anniversary of the attacks in 2021, ESPN offered extensive lookbacks at various sports connections to those events. That year also saw MLB Network came out with a Remembering the Game for New York special, looking back at the Braves-Mets game that took place 10 days after the attacks. The Doc Rivers-narrated It Was Said: Sports podcast that year also looked at those attacks’ impact on the sports world, including a feature of Joe Buck discussing the poem his father Jack wrote and recited on air during a Cardinals’ broadcast on Sept. 17, 2001, the day MLB resumed play. So there are ways to do this well. But a gambling parlay probably isn’t one.
[Nick Guy on Twitter]