As the debate over the legality of paid fantasy sports sites presses on in Texas, state Rep. Jonathan Stickland took to Twitter to bring attention to controversial comments he previously made about drugs and rape on a fantasy football forum.
Stickland tweeted Friday, “Fantasy Football is one thing but lets not ignore the dangers associated with Fantasy Football forums for immature teenagers.”
While campaigning for re-election January, Stickland faced sharp criticism from Republican primary opponent Scott Fisher about the comments made online – some on a fantasy football forum – years before he took office. The posts were first provided by Fisher’s campaign to The Quorum Report.
In one 2001 post on a forum for marijuana users, Stickland, then 17, wrote that he was "looking for a smoke buddy" in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, preferably someone who "loved to smoke da green." In 2008, he also asked users how to beat a work-mandated drug test that was coming a few days after he had taken a "few glorious rips from a blunt."
Stickland also responded to a user asking for sex advice on a fantasy football forum by saying, "Rape is non existent in marriage, take what you want my friend!"
Stickland told the Texas Tribune on Friday that he started the fantasy football league with friends when he was 15 and hasn’t played in years.
“Honestly, [the tweet] was a joke, but it was also serious in admitting again that I was an idiot,” he said. “I’m not trying to act like it wasn’t a big deal because it was a big deal.”
The tweet came after Rep. Richard Peña Raymond, D-Laredo, announced Thursday he would be filing legislation to make sure Texans can place bets on fantasy sports sites without repercussions. Attorney General Ken Paxton released a nonbinding opinion in January that equated fantasy sports sites like DraftKings and FanDuel to illegal gambling.
Stickland said he was open-minded about Raymond’s legislation, but it “depends on how it’s written.”
*Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that all of the online comments made by state Rep. Jonathan Stickland were made when he was a teenager.
Read more of the Tribune's related coverage:
- Bedford state Rep. Jonathan Stickland's challenger in the GOP primary for Texas House has dredged up more than 3,000 of Stickland's old posts on a fantasy football forum. It ain't pretty.
- Republican Jonathan Stickland and Democrat Trey Martinez Fischer, the noisiest pot-stirrers in the Texas House, are in tough March 1 primary contests. Each man is his own best argument, and his worst one.
- For all of the talk and bluster about replacing the people in government with new folks, Texas voters on Tuesday were remarkably gentle with incumbents, giving nearly all of them a ticket to the general election in November.