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The Arrowhead

The Student News Site of Souderton Area High School

The Arrowhead

The Student News Site of Souderton Area High School

The Arrowhead

The Arrowhead

Sportorial: Fantasy football going too far?

As an extension of the NFL, many fans enjoy participating in fantasy football. With various rituals, preparations and punishments, a question emerges: how serious can people take fantasy football until it is too much?
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With high-stakes bets, dreadful set-up and serious punishment, fantasy football starts to be treated as a reality for many. 

The premise of fantasy football is very simple and light-hearted: a group of friends draft real-life players who can earn them points, then see who gets the most points and wins. 

With fantasy football being around for five decades, it has become apparent that while it is laid-back in nature, fans have taken it too far. 

Many leagues decide to have a buy-in to heighten the stakes, such as pooling together prize money with each player contributing $15-$20. At the end of the year, whoever wins earns the money. 

There are extreme examples of money spent and lost in fantasy football, such as fantasy football enthusiast Alex Stein. Stein told ABC News about his drastic losses over the years.

“It kills my fantasy team, because I always draft the Cowboys,” Stein said. “I’m down maybe [$70 or $80 thousand].” 

Betting money on sports is not an uncommon venture, but losing thousands of dollars brings fantasy football to an unwarranted level.

Along with betting money, many leagues choose a punishment for whoever finishes in last place. These can be entertaining and enjoyable, but some are extreme.

According to football enthusiast Emmanuel Torres, some actions take away “all of the fun involved.”

“Our punishment was putting the loser in a dog crate and pouring stuff on him,” Torres said. “It was disgusting, everybody was genuinely afraid to lose.” 

The money and punishments involved with fantasy football can push people and make the fantasy become much too real.

Fans who lose can become deeply angered and may blame “their players” for performing poorly. This is frequently taken out of hand.

After Vikings rookie running back Alexander Mattison performed poorly in a Thursday night game against the Eagles, he received over 60 disgusting messages including racist slurs and threats.

Mattison was deeply affected by the messages and leaked them to his Instagram the same night.

“[Shaking my head], I hope the 60+ people who decided to come at me with disgustingly disrespectful messages tonight in [direct messages] and comments really reflect on what you say…,” Mattison said. “Under my helmet I am a human, a father, a son. This is sick.” 

When a fantasy activity turns to real life threats and racism, it has gone exceedingly too far. Nothing can be used to excuse this kind of behavior. 

How can fantasy football turn in the right direction and not be taken so seriously? It is simple.

Stop intertwining real-life with fantasy activities. The hobby is meant to be enjoyed with friends and family, a competitive way to connect with others.

Bringing money and punishment into fantasy football only creates problems and ruins the whole point of it.

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Brogan Sullivan, Co-Editor-In-Chief

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