Gronk being Gronk is always good for a laugh or two, but if Gronk being Gronk at a casino nightclub with $100,000 in booze bought and paid for by the casino as some sort of a premeditated organic marketing effort, that could be an issue.
Consider this line from the TMZ article: “It’s unclear who footed the bill (most likely the casino).” Casinos typically only give away free booze, food, and lodging to people who will be playing (i.e., losing big money at) casino games. If this was a prearranged “hey Gronk come hang out and bring you friends and the booze is on us and we’re going to pay for all of it,” the situation dances very close to the line regarding the things players can’t do when it comes to casinos.
Indeed, this item from TheBigLead.com suggests that Gronkowski didn’t peel off 1,000 Ben Franklins for the privilege for buying enough booze to wash down loaves and fishes for 5,000.
In past years, that may have been a bigger deal. Now that the NFL has given the Raiders the green light to eventually move to Las Vegas, it will be very difficult for the league to pick fights with players on topics that seem to be hypocritical.
Regardless of whether Gronkowski ever has to answer any pointed questions about who paid for the booze and whether Gronkowski also received an appearance fee or similar compensation, the casino in question has gotten plenty of publicity as a result of Gronkowski’s decision to party there. If the publicity wasn’t free, the NFL may at least consider whether to generate some bad P.R. for itself by stubbornly applying to players a rule that the league necessarily is violating at least in spirit by legitimizing the gambling capital of the world.