“40 yards of gold” prize winners get no green before Friday

The Office

The large novelty check that 49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin received for winning the “40 yards of gold” competition isn’t worth the cardboard it’s printed on. At least not until Friday.

Daniel Kaplan of TheAthletic.com reports that event organizers have instructed competitors not to try to cash their checks until Friday, July 5.

“In regards to the tweets about payouts, everyone received their checks,” co-organizer Charles Stewart told Kaplan via email. “We instructed them that they would be able to cash it by Friday.”

Per Kaplan, Stewart didn’t explain the reason for the delay, and Stewart wouldn’t confirm whether the total prize money of $2 million hinges on money made via the $39.95 pay-per-view earnings.

An unnamed agent who represents one of the competitors expressed concern to Kaplan regarding the six-day delay between the event and payment, calling it a “complete joke.”

“I have been suspicious this whole time, but that’s a lot of money to pay out for a first-time event,” the unnamed agent told Kaplan.

Event organizers consistently have claimed that they have an investor, but they consistently have denied to name the investor. (Maybe they also were advised to not cash the check from the investor until Friday.)

Whatever the reason, and even if the money is indeed paid on Friday (or ever), it’s the latest misstep for an event that (in my opinion) hasn’t been marketed or otherwise handled in an optimal way. For example, Stewart has flat-out refused to acknowledge that “40 yards of gold” isn’t the first event of its kind — even though NBC televised the NFL Fastest Man competition 11 times, with Hall of Famer Darrell Green winning the thing on four different occasions.

“It’s not his idea,” Stewart told Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal regarding Bob Basche, who conceived the NFL Fastest Man competition. “I never even saw his event. . . . I’m not acknowledging anything he did. Whatever he did was whatever he did in his time. I wasn’t watching. I don’t know what he did.”

I don’t know what Stewart gains from having such a gratuitously combative attitude toward an event that no longer exists. It would have cost nothing to embrace the Fastest Man concept; it actually could have helped stir a little nostalgia and perhaps persuaded enough people to support the event so that the checks could have been cashed immediately after they were written.