Generally, when I start one of these little screeds, I begin with a declarative statement about myself. Sometimes I get laughed at for them. Sometimes I don't. Anywho, lets begin, shall we?
I have been accused of many things in my ever-so-short time on this Earth. Many of them have to do with vile ideas, a general lack of ethics, temporary or permanent insanity, and what have you. Despite all of that though, I firmly believe in a very quaint idea that I don't think gets enough credit these days: honor. I just wrote a huge big rant on college sports that was basically an indictment on the lack of honor in that system, just as a for instance. Which, by the way, I feel perfectly vindicated now that news of WVU's coach abandoning his team for Michigan has made it to the airwaves. But college sports is not my target this time around. No, fantasy sports is.
We're coming to the point of the season where its the playoffs and only those that successfully managed their teams get to keep playing for anything meaningful. I play in two leagues this season: one for money, one for nothing. In the nothing league, a player dropped all of his most talented players because he is not in the playoffs. He expected to see a scrum for all of his players as the best teams attempted to pick up his players. Instead, he saw a torrent of angry messages decrying his move and calling on all the other playoff teams to boycott those players. So far, everyone has agreed and the commissioner reacted swiftly to more or less block those players from being picked up. When the player realized that he was suddenly the most hated man in our league, he was shocked. Statements such as "wtf?" and "of all people i never would have expected it from him" and (from the commish) "he's no longer welcome in my league" have been bandied about.
Why? What does it matter? There's nothing to be had by winning the league, after all. I'll tell you why there was such anger. His move lacked honor. He lost. He's no longer playing. So in a fit of spite he decided to try and bring it down for everyone else. I'll be honest with you all and say that in my money league, I considered doing the exact same thing. But I didn't. I don't want to ruin the fun for everyone else just because I have sour grapes.
See, among a group of friends, or even acquaintances, you have little to judge a man on other than his word and how he comports himself. A man's sense of honor and integrity is the only way that you can understand his character. Can you trust him? Can you rely on him? Or will he stab you in the back because he's feeling spiteful?
The player in question may not have committed some egregious act here. All he did was drop six players who, for the most part, have had modest fantasy seasons. But everyone else undersstood that to win with any of those players on your roster would be fraudulent. Any win with those players would have the stink of someone else's classless move and even though you may have won, your victory would always be attached to that. Your victory would never be a true "victory." Everyone in our league understood that except for one player. He attempted to ruin the season for everyone else. And when he was accused of just that, he was shocked. I suppose everyone else in our league was just a more honorable individual.
Sure, its only fantasy sports, but in many cases, you play the same people every year. Players develop reputations. Don't trade with this guy, that guy makes terrible moves, that player over there tends to quit after half the season. You remember these reputations and you remember who burned you in the past. But so far, nobody has ever acted dishonestly in my leagues before. His actions were low. And he will be remembered for that. His reputation is now one that says "I play without honor or integrity. Do not trust me."
And we won't.