Friday, September 16, 2016

The Morality of Fantasy Football

Dear Henry,
     As I sat glued to my fancy, slightly outdated iPhone 6 last night watching on the Verizon NFL app the New York Jets take on the Buffalo Bills, I was truly getting excited. You see, dear Henry, I am in a free fantasy football league with about fifteen other people, and on this night I had three players playing in the game: Wide Receivers Eric Decker, Brandon Marshall, and running back Bilal Powell. And honestly, I was enjoying what I was seeing. My receivers were making catch after catch, and I envisioned my lead over my inferior opponent "Black Bandit" growing. But then, in the middle of the second quarter my heart sank as I watched Brandon Marshall get tackled to the ground in a dirty way, desperately grasping his knee as soon as he hit the turf. "Oh great," thought I, he tore his ACL. There goes my fantasy season. First last week, I lost Keenan Allen for the year, and now this? Wow, it is sure tough to be me. I feel so sorry for myself." I instantly texted my buddy, who for anonymity sake we will call "Ronnie," the following: "I lost Keenan last week and now Marshall :-( "
Dejected, I opened up a cold one, and looked at Twitter, to commiserate with my fellow Marshall Fantasy owners. To my comfort, I saw thousands of Tweets with gifs describing how we all felt, and I even saw another fellow who like me, lost Keenan Allen last week. Through nothing short of a miracle, it turned out that Brandon Marshall only suffered a slight knee sprain, enabling tens of thousands of people who have Marshall on their teams to take a collective deep breath.
        Upon philosophizing on these dramatic events an hour later at the shvitz, I came to realize that as great as sports are, and is fun as it is to watch, sometimes it can cloud our sense of morality. Sometimes what's right and what is wrong can be confused. This is but one example of a classic case where sports can cloud our morality. While it is inconvenient and annoying that when a player gets hurt it has implications for my fantasy team or for the team I root for, the first thought that SHOULD come into my head when there is an injury is. "wow, that looked painful- I really hope that player gets up without any injuries." When Brandon Marshall went down, the thought that SHOULD have come into my head was, "Brandon Marshall is getting older, heading towards the twilight of his career. I really hope he gets up okay so he can finish out his career in good health." Instead, the inappropriate thought was, "Poor me- my free fantasy football team will suffer, and now I can't win the league and feel good about myself. Nebach."
        Another example of sports confusing my moral compass came up last Thursday night as the Broncos were subjecting Cam Newton to repeated helmet shots. I rejoiced in them, musing, "if the guy is gonna play like a running back or receiver, he should get hit like a running back or receiver. Kudos to the ruthless Broncos Defense!" The appropriate response would have been, "wow, they really should get these guys hitting Cam's head out of the game. There is no room for this type of behavior in football. Safety first!"
      A final example of sports messing with my sense of morality is the whole Brock Osweiler situation. As we are all well aware, the dude walked away from a chance to repeat as World Champions in the best city on the planet this side of Jerusalem, and he walked away to Houston for more money. Naturally, I hope the man loses every single game for the rest of his career. The appropriate response would be, "I wish him the best. He should go on to have a tremendously successful career!"

After all this philosophizing I have come to realize a critical epiphany: Fantasy Football is just that: fantasy. It is crucial that we do not lose sight of reality, and for that matter, morality.


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