After Howard Lederer issued an apology for his role in the Full Tilt Poker “Black Friday” scandal last month, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that he would make an appearance at the World Series of Poker. While we would all like to believe that the apology was completely heartfelt (and I’m not saying it wasn’t at least partially genuine), it is likely that Lederer was using it as a way to be able to return to major tournament poker without seeing torches and pitchforks wherever he turned. And sure enough, Lederer played in some events this weekend.
More surprising, as Earl Burton reported, was that Lederer’s fellow Full Tilt founder and board member, Chris Ferguson, also made his return to the WSOP after five years of radio silence following Black Friday. It was almost as if he was trying to piggyback on Lederer’s apology. Ferguson still hasn’t said anything publicly about what happened at Full Tilt and what his role may have been, which makes his appearance at the Rio hard to swallow for most people.
One of those people is Daniel Negreanu, who posted Lederer’s apology statement on his website, FullContactPoker.com. Speaking with PokerListings.com, Negreanu expressed his outrage at Chris Ferguson’s decision to show up at the World Series of Poker.
“There’s a distinct difference between Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson showing up at the WSOP,” Negreanu told PokerListings. “Howard has spoken. He spoke to PokerNews for hours. People might not have liked his answers but at least he was speaking and he issued a statement where he finally showed some ownership in terms of his role. He’s come back and I don’t have much of a problem with it. I’ve put that behind me.”
“Chris Ferguson, on the other hand, has hid for five years when they really needed him. They needed him to help get the sale done so players could get paid. Now he kind of weaselly comes back without saying a word and not acknowledging anything, taking zero responsibility, and now he’s taking pictures with people in the hallway.”
Negreanu called it “shameful” that Ferguson hasn’t said anything after five years, that it appears that Ferguson has no remorse about what happened to Full Tilt’s players.
Ferguson has said in court documents that he was unaware of any funny business at Full Tilt when he was there, but Negreanu doesn’t buy it.
“Ferguson saying, ‘I didn’t do anything wrong,’ is bullshit. Who brought Ray Bitar in? Who’s Ray Bitar’s best buddy? You are. You were on the board of directors. You were involved in the company at a very high level. Everyone had responsibility to some degree. Every single person involved. And to shrug it off like you had no involvement after five years, I’m just shocked.”
And at this point, in Negreanu’s opinion, even though Ferguson should still apologize (whether or not he means it) it is really too late for an apology to have any impact unless it is shockingly genuine.
“…now he kind of has to apologize for coming back and not saying anything because it’s basically a slap in the face. It’s like saying, ‘Hey I robbed all you guys, how you been?’”