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DraftKings apologizes after ‘tone deaf’ 9/11 promotion

A marketing manager at DraftKings on Sept. 9, 2015, works at his station at the company's offices in Boston. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — DraftKings has apologized after an unconscionable blunder.

On the 22nd anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the online sportsbook offered bettors the chance to wager on a three-game parlay involving New York teams with the headline “NEVER FORGET,” a phrase widely known as a way to commemorate the events that took place on that tragic day.

The post continued: “Bet these New York teams to win tonight on 9/11.”

The promotion, since removed, featured the New York Mets, the New York Yankees and the New York Jets. The payout offered was $651 for bettors who wagered $100 on all three teams winning.

After an outcry on social media from people offended by the promotion titled “Never Forget,” DraftKings took it down and apologized.

“We sincerely apologize for the featured parlay that was shared briefly in commemoration of 9/11,” the company said in a statement to the Boston Globe “We respect the significance of this day for our country and especially for the families of those who were directly affected.”

Brett Eagleson, whose father, Bruce, was killed in the World Trade Center attacks, runs a families and first responders organization called 9/11 Justice. He decried the DraftKings offer as “tone-deaf.”

“It is shameful to use the national tragedy of 9/11 to promote a business,” he told The Associated Press. “We need accountability, justice and closure, not self-interest and shameless promotion.”

The company would not say how many people placed bets as a result of the offer, nor whether those bets remain valid or whether they have been canceled.

DraftKings is one of the leading companies offering legal sports betting in the United States, which has grown rapidly since the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for it in 2018. Two-thirds of the country now offers it.

Nearly 3,000 people died on Sept. 11, 2001, when 19 terrorists hijacked four planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center in Manhattan, the Pentagon in northern Virginia, and a field in western Pennsylvania.