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Ohio sports director fired over gambling tweet

Jordan Strack used Twitter to promote DraftKings, FanDuel and other sports betting apps.

Jordan Strack used Twitter to promote DraftKings, FanDuel and other sports betting apps.

Former WTOL Sports Director Jordan Strack appears in an undated social media photograph. (Image via Twitter.com, Graphic by The Desk)
Former WTOL Sports Director Jordan Strack appears in an undated social media photograph. (Image via Twitter.com, Graphic by The Desk)

A television sports director in Ohio was fired late last month after pitching several sports gambling apps to his social media followers.

The reporter, Jordan Strack, worked for TEGNA-owned CBS affiliate WTOL (Channel 11) in Toledo for more than a decade before he was dismissed for violating company policy in late February, according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke with The Desk on background.

At issue is a tweet made by Strack in mid-February that encouraged viewers to reach out to him if they wanted to learn more about FanDuel, DraftKings and Barstool Sports. Strack offered to send viewrs a “referral link” to those apps if they wanted to try out the services during the Super Bowl weekend, according to a copy of the tweet reviewed by The Desk.

“If you’re on the fence about sports betting in Ohio, let me know,” Strack wrote in the tweet. “Also happy to answer questions if you’re new to it or nervous.”

It was not the first time Strack advocated for sports betting on social media: A source familiar with his activity pointed The Desk to a social media account Strack launched in 2021 that was entirely dedicated to sports-related gambling. The account described Strack as WTOL’s sports director “by day, sports gambler by night.”

But the tweet from Strack’s professional account appeared to be the one that caught the scrutiny of some WTOL viewers. At least one e-mail was sent to station officials questioning Strack’s decision to advocate for sports betting on social media, which resulted in a conference with Strack and station managers.

Ultimately, WTOL and TEGNA declared Strack’s social media activity to violate the company’s professional conduct and ethics policies, and he was shown the door after nearly 14 years at the station. Strack later deleted the tweet encouraging viewers to reach out to him for sports gambling referral codes. His firing was first reported by the media industry blog FTV Live.

In a lengthy statement posted online, Strack thanked several colleagues for working with him during his 14 years at WTOL, including on-air talent Chrys Peterson and Jerry Anderson, who Strack said had “always been there with guidance and wisdom, especially [over] the last few days.”

“I’ll probably be eating Raising Canes and pondering a lot over the coming days,” Strack wrote, adding that he will likely remain in Toledo because his family is there.

It wasn’t clear from his statement if he intends to leave sports betting behind after gambling with his job and losing.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).