"It is incredibly important for us to establish that Jade's win is nothing more than pure luck," Tanner Tolbert said in a statement to PEOPLE
In a statement to PEOPLE, Tolbert, 32, shared that he and Roper Tolbert “respect that DraftKings feels they need to do their due diligence in regard to Jade winning their $1 million dollar prize for the fantasy contest for the NFL’s wild-card round this weekend.”
“Though we must ponder, would the questions, accusations and curiosity about this win be the same if the winner had been male and someone who wasn’t already in the public eye?” Tolbert asked.
Tolbert concluded his statement by explaining Roper Tolbert’s win was “pure luck.”
“It is incredibly important for us to establish that Jade’s win is nothing more than pure luck and we are confident that DraftKings will determine the same,” he added.
Roper Tolbert’s astounding victory was clouded with doubt over the weekend after several people began tweeting that the Bachelor in Paradise season 2 winner had finished in first place in a DraftKings fantasy contest for the NFL’s wild-card round.
“I’m pretty sure this girl was on The Bachelor. I only know this because my girlfriend forces me to watch it,” wrote one Twitter user, alongside a screenshot of the results page, which showed the reality star’s payout as well as a photograph of herself and her husband.
“Hahaha that’s me! And Tanner told me I shouldn’t play DK Metcalf!” Roper Tolbert, 33, replied, referring to the Seattle Seahawks wide receiver who earned 32 points in the fantasy contest following his team’s victory against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, according to CBS Sports.
In response to another Twitter user who commented on how the news cut across very different fandoms, she replied, “Doesn’t even feel real over here! Officially speechless. LIKE WHAAAAAAAAT.”
However, that’s when Twitter users began accusing the Tolberts of working together in order to gain an unfair advantage.
Numerous social media users shared screenshots that appeared to show the breakdowns between which players the couple built their lineups around, suggesting that the pair seemed to have coordinated their choices. One specific list of quarterbacks also seemed to show that the majority of Jade’s choices played in Saturday’s games while the majority of Tanner’s played on Sunday.
Additional sleuthing from Twitter users appeared to show that the pair each picked 150 lineups, which generated 300 unique entries.
“Everyone realizes the two of them max entered and split their player exposure, right?” added another, who insisted that was against DraftKings rules.
Yet another Twitter user pointed out a tweet, which appears to have been deleted, from fellow Bachelor in Paradise alum Chris Randone, congratulating Tolbert on his win, instead of his wife.
“OMG congrats to my boy @ttolbert05 winning the f- milly maker!!!!” read the Tweet, to which Tanner replied, “Technically Jades lineup won…but til death do us part”
The next day, Randone seemingly addressed the controversy, tweeting, “I’m done speaking on the situation that doesn’t involve me. Two great friends I love and support in which I thought was doing the right thing in defending from the information I personally know that’s valid But with the hate messages and death threats I just want to be left alone.”
“I mean they basically told on themselves trying to make it seem like they weren’t working together, lol” claimed one Twitter user.
According to DraftKing’s website, “group play behavior designed to gain an unfair advantage over others” is against the rules.
As an example of the behavior, DraftKings described the following scenario: “You and 2 of your friends coordinate the makeup of the lineups you build AND coordinate which contests you enter using them.” Another example reads: “you and a group of friends collaborate in NFL contest to each draft different QBs and WRs, to guarantee you aren’t competing as directly with each other.”
When reached by PEOPLE, a spokesperson for DraftKings said they were “looking into” the situation.
“We take the integrity and fairness of our contests very seriously and are looking into this matter,” the spokesperson said.
DraftKings did not immediately respond when asked to comment on Tolbert’s statement.