By now, many of you have probably heard that the kibosh was put on our Super Bowl Squares pool to benefit Jared Allen's Homes 4 Wounded Warriors. I spent part of my evening yesterday going through my PayPal and hitting the "refund" button for every transaction that had come in regarding the pool, and by now the refunds should, at the very least, be getting processed by the PayPal folks. I'm not sure what the time frame on that sort of thing is, but hopefully everyone will have their money back sooner rather than later.
As far as what happened, I'll divulge more of that at a later time. I'll give you a heads-up. . .that post likely won't be anywhere near as subdued as this one is.
Take the Leap of Faith (™ Kyle) with me, and I will explain what happened.
I was inspired to do this by the folks over at Mile High Report, SB Nation's Denver Broncos site. I thought it would be a way to get people excited about the Super Bowl after a particularly crappy football season for all of us die-hards. I ran the idea past the folks in the SB Nation legal department, and while they told me that there would be some risk involved, they said that they believed everything with the pool was above board. So, with that in mind, I went ahead and put the idea onto the pages of The Daily Norseman here, and you folks came through with flying colors, ultimately filling all 100 squares on the board.
And then came the e-mail that, basically, said that the pool appeared to be illegal and that corrective action needed to be taken. Now, since the Super Bowl has not actually happened yet, no laws have been broken at this point. However, my options were limited. Basically, I could do one of two things. . .
a) Tell everyone that, now, 100% of the money was now going to charity and we were basically just playing for bragging rights, or
b) Kick all the folks with Minnesota residency out of the pool and open up their squares.
I didn't think "a" would be a terribly popular choice, because while the money from this was going to charity, I'm sure that the potential to win money on top of it was a fairly attractive thing for a good number of the folks that put their money into the pool. I mean, if I wanted to just do a straight-up, "PBS-style" fundraiser for Homes 4 Wounded Warriors. . .and that's a possibility for the future, hopefully. . .then that's what I'd do, and that's what it would be promoted as. To do otherwise would make me feel as though I was pulling the ol' bait-and-switch on you folks, and that's not the sort of thing we do here.
As far as "b". . .well, I didn't much care for that idea, either. At last check, this was a Minnesota Vikings website and, by nature, the overwhelming majority of our readers and fans are going to be located. . .get this. . .in Minnesota. (I know, right?) As far as I'm concerned, either everybody's eligible to win, or we don't do it at all. On top of that, had I kicked all the Minnesota residents out of the pool, I would have basically been stuck crossing my fingers and hoping that the pool would fill up again. If it hadn't, then I would have ended up refunding money to a lot of people anyway.
Hence, I decided to go with option "c". . .that being "give everybody their money back and, basically, pretend that this never happened." When it comes down to it, the fault lies with me. . .my level of disappointment that things wound up going this way is substantial, but ultimately there aren't a lot of other ways to put it.
I know that some of you have expressed your desire to have me simply give the money to Homes 4 Wounded Warriors anyway. While I appreciate the sentiment, unfortunately most of it came after I had already gone through and issued all of the refunds. However, you can certainly feel free to donate the money to Homes 4 Wounded Warriors, and if you want to leave a note that says you were directed there by DN or something similar, then have at it. As I mentioned earlier, there might be something that we can do in conjunction with H4WW in the future as more of a straight-up fundraiser, and I'm going to effort to reach out to the charity to see if we can make that happen.
Aside from that, ladies and gentlemen, about the best I can do is to say, "Hey, we tried." After all, we're Vikings fans. . .we get excited about stuff only to get our hearts ripped out on a fairly regular basis. Hell, it's pretty much what this site and this community are built around, isn't it?
Once again, my sincerest apologies go out to everyone that sent in money for this endeavor. You should have your refunds in the very near future. Thank you for efforting to support a great cause.