The NFL season is on the horizon, and with that comes the tradition of Fantasy Football. Fantasy Football enjoyers become GMs and draft players based solely on how they think they would perform individually in any particular game. Many leagues consist of friends and coworkers, which is what entices many fans to partake in this yearly game.
Fantasy Football was an ingenious move by sports media outlets that have made millions in revenue through sports betting and changed the way fans watch football. Fans become incentivized to watch games that may not involve their favorite teams due to there potentially being players on their Fantasy team anyway. The feeling of your running back scoring the game-winning touchdown is almost euphoric, and you have a newfound confidence that lasts until Thursday.
While so many football fans love playing Fantasy Football every year, some find it to be nothing more than a luck-based, silly game that takes away from the true beauty and meaning of football. We all know that one person who pays no attention to their team but still finds a way to win the whole thing. Fantasy Football is less about your knowledge of the NFL and more about being lucky and picking the right players at the right time. Luck alone has angered almost every player of Fantasy Football at one point or another.
We’ve all experienced that one player who didn’t perform to nearly what they were expected to, and we blame them for the fall of the team. Some people take this anger way too far by sending racist comments to players.
One fresh example is Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison who recently flopped in terms of individual performance, his second straight week of doing so, and he claimed to have received at least 60 messages from angry fans who were spouting racist messages, death threats and requests to kill himself. Suddenly a meaningless game that’s just supposed to be fun becomes egregious.
Stories like Mattison’s are something non-super athletes never experience, so if fans do send some sort of message to these players, they do not fully appreciate the consequences of their actions. The messages to these players, and in some cases their families, don’t go unnoticed and leave most who receive these messages rattled, angry and scared. Sports fans can be a different kind of cruel which can leave people wondering if Fantasy Football is worth the fun if it comes at the cost of players receiving threats and racially motivated hate.
Fantasy Football is a fun gateway to feeling more involved with a sport that millions of people love, not a way to take fits of anger out on the players who have done nothing wrong. Although it is annoying having a player underperform, racist comments toward anyone are unacceptable in any way, shape or form.
I want this to end positively, so I’ll finish by saying that I love Fantasy Football, as infuriated as it makes me, and will play until the day I die and I encourage every football fan to at the very least partake in the fun once. But, when players get racist attacks due to underperformance, I sometimes wonder if it’s worth it.
Quinn Elfers is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to share your thoughts about the column? Let Quinn know by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.