Richard Sherman speaks his truth on fantasy football fans

richard sherman speaks his truth on fantasy football fans 2017 images

The Seattle Seahawks dominated the Indianapolis Colts after halftime to win 46-18. The victory, however, was not without cost, as Seahawks rookie running back Chris Carson suffered a “significant” ankle injury and left tackle Rees Odhiambo was taken to the hospital after the game with difficulty breathing. Cornerback Jeremy Lane and defensive end Cliff Avril also left the game early with complications.

Football is a rough sport. There are injuries every week. For the players, it’s their friends and teammates getting hurt and suffering from immense physical and mental pain. For some fans, it’s their family.

Then, there are us fantasy football owners. When your wide receiver or running back sprains his ankle, it isn’t “Wow, I hope he’s okay,” it’s more like “Man, there goes my shot at victory this week.”

That’s part of what Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman hit on when addressing his teammates’ injuries in Sunday night’s game.

“I think a lot of people, a lot of fans out there have looked at players even less like people because of fantasy football and things like that,” said Sherman. “You go and say, ‘Oh man, this guy got hurt.’ You’re not thinking, ‘Hey man, this guy got hurt—he’s really physically hurt and he’s going to take time to recover and it’s probably going to affect his mental state and his physical state and now he has a long, rigorous rehab.’

“You’re thinking, ‘Oh, man, he’s messing up my fantasy team.’”

That’s a fair argument. And it is easy to see, as Sherman explained, why players and their families are fed up with fantasy football and occasionally snap when the subject is brought up.

“I think that’s why you see the frustration from a lot of players saying they don’t care about your fantasy team,” continued Sherman. “They don’t care about how it affects your fantasy team because these are real players, this is real life. This is real life, and this is their real job, and that’s affecting their well-being.”

But isn’t that what most games do? If you play Call of Duty, aren’t you dehumanizing the real soldiers over in the Middle East right now risking their lives every day? We hear that argument all the time, especially in regards to violence.

Now, does that justify it? No. You can’t justify one wrong by pointing to another. But is it really dehumanizing? How bad are we supposed to feel when someone else gets hurt? If you see someone fall down the stairs, do you laugh or cry? When we hear about violence on the news, are we supposed to pay our respects to every individual, even if we didn’t know them?

I think you can also make the argument that selecting a player in fantasy is an active process (for most of us at least). While there may be violence on the news and unnamed victims, we know exactly who our players are, and we should always keep in mind that they’re people too.

I don’t know. I don’t have the answers. I’m a journalist. I just sit here and overanalyze everything.

“Now, your fantasy team may not win, and hey, guess what, you’ll live the next day. This is their well-being. They may not ever get another shot. They may never get another down, another play. And I think that’s why it’s so devastating for players. Thankfully, I don’t think [Carson’s injury is] as serious as we first thought, hopefully, God willing. Trying to be optimistic in this situation.”

Fortunately, Carson and Odhiambo seem to be fine. No one wants to see a player lose time over an injury. I think actually watching the game, as opposed to just following the score of our fantasy team, makes us a bit more empathetic regarding these matters, just like knowing a player personally does.

“It’s terrible when you see things like that because we know these guys personally,” said Sherman, putting things in perspective for fans. “A lot of times the fans know us from the surface and wear 32, and he’s running the ball and he’s doing great for my team, but they don’t think about the effects that an injury will have to a guy’s mental capacity and what his family and what his mom and girlfriend and wife might be going through. It’s different, but I’m happy that it’s not as bad as they initially thought.”

No player gets hurt on purpose. And no true football fan would ever wish an injury on even their rival’s best player. So maybe people should stop asking players how an injury might impact fantasy owners. And owners should be more sympathetic towards a player’s condition.

If a player just sucks during the season, however, that’s a different story. Then you have a right to be pissed.