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Life's Rich Pageant

DraftKings Apologizes For Pushing “Never Forget” 9/11 Parlay

2:11 PM EDT on September 11, 2023

A general view of a DraftKings advertisement on top of the Green Monster during the ALS Awareness college baseball game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Boston College Eagles on May 19, 2023, at Fenway Park in Boston, MA.
Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Perhaps one day we will collectively run out of possibilities for tone-deaf 9/11 remembrances, but for now you can still set your watch to their annual arrival. Brands and celebrities have been predictably busy today sharing their cheesy and off-putting 9/11-themed posts, but as of yet none of them have put in a stronger effort than DraftKings:

This parlay was available to bet through the DraftKings app for a few hours before being removed, thus hampering the chances for "Never Forget Parlay" to earn its rightful status as one of the most exquisite phrases ever crafted in the English language. Once the parlay was removed, DraftKings got to work doing something that only the greatest artists within the goofy 9/11 remembrance genre ever get to attempt: issuing an earnest apology.

It can be hard to understand how, 22 years after the 9/11 attacks, something like the Never Forget Parlay can be conceived and freely shared. How is it that with two decades worth of groan- and apology-worthy 9/11 posts piled up behind them, brands and the people that speak for/as them online are still finding ways to stack it a little higher?

The answer is that the Never Forget Parlay is not actually a faux-pas. Its existence is easy to comprehend when viewed as what it is: not some aberrant expression of mourning, but the natural product of American culture's perverse grieving process. The truth is that Americans and American institutions have been tripping over their feet while trying to properly memorialize 9/11 more or less since the day it happened. We're entering the third decade of 9/11 being commemorated in tacky and bizarre fashion not because people keep making the same mistake over and over again, but because this is an extremely tacky and bizarre country.

Maybe it's time to just embrace who we are. Put $50 on the Never Forget Parlay with tears in your eyes, and then stand up on your office chair and salute this frozen pizza company for marking the occasion with a truly revolting but patriotic image. It's 9/11, after all. Never forget.

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