What happens when fantasy league commissioners behave badly.
I’m going to share a story I heard from a caller on a fantasy show that I listen to regularly. There’s always a tale out there about a fantasy commissioner behaving badly. There seems to be no end to a certain faction of knuckleheads who manage fantasy leagues. That’s why we do what we do here at CommishRx.
Remember when the Patriots placed their kicker Stephen Gostkowski on injured reserve after Week 4? The following week, the caller, Omar, played an opponent who had Gostkowski. When the first set of games began he noticed that the owner still had Gostkowski rostered. About five minutes later, after the games had already locked, Omar noticed that Gotskowski was no longer rostered, it was Chase McLaughlin, the San Diego Chargers kicker instead.
Turns out that the commissioner had also noticed that Omar’s opponent had started Gostkowski, and decided to swap the players. The commissioner did this on their own accord. At the time of Omar’s call, the score was close, and they still had players that had yet to play in the Monday night game.
Omar said that they were going to leave the league if they lost. The show host said that they should leave anyway, an assessment I agreed with. Either that, or Omar needed to work with the rest of the league to remove the commissioner. If members of his league think that this type of behavior is okay, then he should definitely leave the league.
What Omar’s league manager did is a clear case of an abuse of power. They had no business inserting themselves into someone else’s match. That’s not part of the job description.
Licensed to Ill
I never heard a followup to the story, but Omar should’ve asked for a roster reversal, with the resultant score adjustment, regardless of whether he won the game or not. Letting the commissioner get away with such an act, without any real consequences sets the stage for the commissioner to do the same thing later in the season if they chose to.
What other situations might come up when he thinks it’s okay to manage someone else’s roster? Which league member will have their victory reversed because the commissioner disagrees with a stat correction?
There are those who may forget to pull an injured player from their starting roster at one time or another. However, there are some folks who will leave a player in, knowing that they’re going to go scoreless at that position. I’m neither endorsing nor opposing this strategy. I am however presenting another scenario where the commissioner may feel that they have to step in and “commish.” What if a commissioner decides to stick their nose in and “correct” what they perceive to be a mistake in this case? Problems, folks.
Friends or Foes
One recurring theme that I come across frequently is that people will moan and wail about behavior like that described above, but they are reluctant to do or say something because the perpetrator is a friend that they’ve known for a long time, or a family member.
Often family/close friend fantasy leagues are the ones that people care about the most, and they don’t want to upset things. Let the drama at the Thanksgiving dinner be about something else. Regardless who is running the league, they still need to act responsibly. We’ve discussed before that as a commissioner you don’t let personal relationships cloud your judgement.
It works the same way if you’re a player. You don’t stay in a league run by your friend (since kindergarten), where they feel it’s okay to swap your opponent’s kickers simply because they have access to the tools to do so.
If you care about the longevity of your league, you have to hold your league commissioner to a higher standard. Expect more from them. Demand accountability. Likewise, fantasy players need to have high expectations of themselves in what kinds of behavior they’re willing to accept from their commissioners, and frankly each other.
If you can’t trust your commissioner, they need to be replaced. If there are shady things going on in your league, leave. Complaining all the while, but still staying in the league doesn’t help anyone. Deferring to ill behavior just enables folks to do more stupid stuff – for you to do nothing more than to go complain about on Twitter and talk radio.
Let’s do better, folks.