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Opinion: Quit fantasy football to protest the NFL scandals

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fantasy football 1It’s been a week since the horrific news that Adrian Peterson allegedly had been excessively beating his child  and the video showing Ray Rice punching his girlfriend surfaced.

The dust has settled and it appears that the NFL will continue collecting millions of dollars following the scandals.

Commentators have said their pieces about how awful these domestic abuse cases have been and why Roger Goodell should step down, sentiments I wholeheartedly agree with.

It appears as if he’s not going anywhere, at least for the time being, but I believe if he is to step down, it won’t be until the end of the season. Although, I think it’ll take an act of Congress to force him out. And, I don’t think that’s going to happen, either.

But, what can you, the average football viewing fan, do to protest what’s happening in the NFL right now, while still keeping your loyalties to the sport you love intact?

Well, you could just not watch football the rest of this season and vow to return to the sport after its act is cleaned up, or perhaps never.

If you’re able to do that, I salute you and call you a better man/woman than I.

I wouldn’t call myself a huge fan, but a fan nonetheless. For me, the sport is more about bonding with my friends and family. It’s an excuse to talk about something we can all bring our own opinions on without having to dive into the murkiness that is politics or religion.

Which, mind you, are wonderful topics to discuss, especially among close friends.

However, if you’re really looking for one way to protest what’s happened with the NFL, you can quit your fantasy football team.

Quit now and don’t look back. You might say to yourself “But Jake, fantasy football is my only way of staying connected to the game.”

And to that I’d say, well then you’re not really a FOOTBALL fan, are you? You won’t miss it much if you quit, will you?

I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with fantasy football, however I’ve found myself able to actually enjoy the games more and the stats less since I stopped.

I haven’t been on a team since 2011 when I got kicked out of the Tribune-related league.

The drama went down in I think week 13 or so and my team was in trouble. The playoffs were in sight and I needed to make a move.

I needed to shake things up big time, so I traded my top running back, Arian Foster, for essentially Wes Welker, pre-amphetamines, or perhaps he was still taking them and just hadn’t been caught yet, who really knows. I got a few other players, but those were the main players in the deal.

I knew Foster had the better stats and I knew that the person I was trading him for probably was getting a little bit of a better deal, but not by that much.

Despite that, I really needed a receiver and I thought that my backup running back, who I don’t even remember who that was at the time, could carry the load almost as much as Foster.

Anyhow, some other people in the league thought it was a bad deal, even though it was approved by the commissioner and both parties and even though they never told me that up front.

After I was told second-hand that some people thought the deal shouldn’t have been made and that it was screwing up their chances, I said, you know what, I don’t care anymore. I got rid of all my good starters and picked up some players who obviously weren’t going to play much the rest of the year. If you’re not going to come to me in person and tell me your feelings, then I’m out. This isn’t fun anymore anyhow and I don’t want to be a part of this passive-aggressive environment.

Well, apparently that wasn’t allowed and I got booted from the league. Interestingly enough I also was not invited back the next year or the next one. Which, is fine by me because I’ve since discovered how liberating it is to not have fantasy football in my life.

And, now, with what’s happening in the NFL, this can give you the perfect opportunity to leave fantasy football behind for good, or at least for this season.

When you watch a game, you’re watching it because you want to, not because you’re worried about how many points your team is getting, or how many catches your second-string wide receiver will get, or how the players you picked up off the waiver wire will do because your starters are not playing this week for whatever reason.

Fantasy football also has the potential of putting a wedge between you and your friends.

If you make a trade that you legitimately believe is good for you, if one or more of your friends doesn’t think so, they might hold that against you as the reason they didn’t win the league, and, depending on how long they hold a grudge, might just never treat you the same ever again.

And while the NFL will likely never know you stopped playing fantasy football because of their mishandling of the Ray Rice case especially, you will know and you can feel like your taking a step back from the sport.

If you feel especially passionate, you can donate time and or money to the many anti-domestic violence organizations that do incredible work in helping women, children and men who are victims of abuse. You can help stop it from happening in your corner of the world, even if it will never be completely eradicated from our planet.

And when if you quit your fantasy league, I guarantee that you’ll find yourself enjoying it more, as much as you can, at least.

Because if you’re like me, you can’t just drop football from your life entirely. Even if that’s what you think you should be doing.

I’ve had that talk with myself several times. I’ve wondered if I should feel guilty for watching my 49ers play. I’ve told myself “Well, there’s lots of good players who have never done anything awful such as beating their kids or their wife.”

But, I shouldn’t have to feel culpable for watching the sport. It’s a reflection on our society more than me personally, or any one person.

So, finally, maybe you can take this ugliness and use it as  a way to improve your own life. And when people ask you, “why did you quit your fantasy team? What prompted you to do such a thing? Do you not want to be our friend anymore?”

You can calmly tell them that you did it because you didn’t think you needed to be following the individual athletes so closely in light of the dirty deeds several of the prominent players have been caught doing. And, nobody will be able to fault you for that.

You can quit your fantasy team and still enjoy watching pro football because I’ve done it and I have never once looked back.


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