Plane banner denounces Jets' partnership with MGM over Las Vegas shooting lawsuits

Jason Owens
A banner flew around the Jets home stadium criticizing the team for partnering with MGM Resorts. (AP)
A banner flew around the Jets home stadium criticizing the team for partnering with MGM Resorts. (AP)

An ugly day for the New York Jets on the football field started with highly visible criticism of the team’s business decisions off the field.

A plane flew around MetLife Stadium prior to the Jets’ 41-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills denouncing the team’s partnership with MGM Resorts over the company’s decision to sue victims of last year’s massacre that saw Stephen Paddock murder 58 people and injure hundreds more at an outdoor concert while shooting from a room in the Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas.

“SHAME ON JETS/MGM #ENDGUNVIOLENCE #STOPMGM,” the banner read.

Jets partnered with MGM in October

The Jets and MGM Resorts entered an agreement in October to make MGM the official gaming partner of the team in a first-of-its-kind deal between an NFL team and a casino operator.

The NFL has traditionally shunned gambling, but after the U.S. Supreme Court widened the scope of legal sports betting, the league appears to be ready to capitalize on the opportunity with deals like this one that places a non-gambling game in the Jets app sponsored by MGM.

MGM sued victims of Mandalay Bay massacre

MGM sued hundreds of victims of the Mandalay Bay shooting in July, claiming it has “no liability of any kind” in the shooting because it used private security service Contemporary Services Corp., which was certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The suit sought to shift liability to the security service, citing a 2002 law that limits liability of companies when using security certified by the Department of Homeland Security.

From the lawsuit:

“If defendants were injured by Paddock’s assault, as they allege, they were inevitably injured both because Paddock fired from his window and because they remained in the line of fire at the concert. Such claims inevitably implicate security at the concert — and may result in loss to CSC.”

The Jets did not comment on the banner when prompted by the Associated Press.

MGM responds to banner

MGM did in a statement provided to AP.

“We wholeheartedly agree that our country needs to put an end to gun violence,” MGM Resorts International said.

Federal judges ruled last month against an MGM request to centralize 13 lawsuits stemming from the shooting. The request came after MGM filed nine lawsuits against more than 1,900 people affected by the shooting.

MGM wants to ‘resolve these matters fairly’

MGM also addressed its stance on the pending legal issues with the shooting victims.

“Our goal has always been to resolve these matters fairly and promptly, and we and the plaintiffs have asked the courts to suspend all litigation so we can enter into mediation and attempt to reach a resolution,” MGM said in a statement to AP. “We hope for a positive outcome so all of those impacted can look forward to the future and continue in their healing.”

The Jets’ partnership with MGM drew criticism from state politicians when it was announced. It is not known who was behind flying Sunday’s banner.

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