DraftKings Faces Backlash for 'Never Forget' 9/11 Parlay Offer

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DraftKings Sportsbook has come under fire for running a promotion titled 'Never Forget' encouraging fans to support New York teams on 9/11.

Monday commemorates the 22nd anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, during which the Twin Towers in New York were struck, and Al Qaeda hijacked four planes.

Strong Disapproval over Callous Campaign

Every year, several organizations and entities across the United States, including sports teams, honor the nearly 3,000 individuals who tragically lost their lives in 2001, and this year is no different.

However, in a controversial move that has been tagged “incredibly insensitive” by some individuals, DraftKings presented an opportunity for fans to place bets on the New York Mets facing off against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the New York Yankees vs. the Boston Red Sox, and the New York Jets against the Buffalo Bills, all scheduled for Monday.

This parlay, dubbed 'Never Forget,' carried the ‘provocative’ tagline: 'Bet on these New York teams to win tonight on 9/11.’

The promotion generated backlash for DraftKings on social media, with users labeling the company as 'tone-deaf,' 'gross,' and 'disgraceful.' One user expressed their dismay on X, formerly known as Twitter, stating, "What the hell is this DraftKings?"

Another user commented, "Absolutely disgraceful to try to profit off this. Shame on you." Meanwhile, a different user referred to the parlay as 'incredibly insensitive.'

DraftKings has since taken down the promotion and issued an apology, however not before many users had placed bets on it.

In its statement to Mail Sport the company stated “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 families of those who were directly affected."

Related: DraftKings Joins Forces with ECL Corbin for Kentucky Market

Sports-Related 9/11 Controversies

Over the years, several sports figures and entities have been slammed over 9/11 remembrance.

In 2011, ESPN came under fire for an ill-conceived segment where they used a graphic showing the World Trade Center towers in a lighthearted context during a broadcast. This sparked outrage and forced an apology from the network.

In 2020, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees faced criticism for his comments on kneeling during the national anthem, which some interpreted as insensitive to the 9/11 anniversary. He later apologized and clarified his stance.

In the same year, NHL goaltender Braden Holtby was criticized for wearing a mask featuring an image of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon in flames as a tribute to 9/11 during the playoffs. While his intent was to honor the victims, some found it inappropriate.

The most recent case before this latest incidence was when former New York Giants center and NFL Network host Shaun O'Hara faced criticism earlier this year for a comment where he likened Tom Brady's retirement announcement to the 9/11 attacks and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.