Sunday, October 7, 2007

Ethically Challenged- UPDATED

I hate the Patriots. The Owner, his son, his cheatin coach, and just about everybody else. But this year I find myself in the ethically challenging position of cheering them on. I drafted Tom Brady. The move was a shrewd move because he was a relative bargain compared to some of his peers, but has outperformed them.

I rationalized drafting him because if he did well, I did well. If he did poorly, I would also be happy. At least that is what I said then. That was before Lamont Jordan got hurt and Shaun Alexander had virtually disappeared. Tom Brady is currently carrying my team and I am cheering his every touchdown pass. (good thing their running game sucks).

Anyways, Boston Globe magazine has an article how to balance this ethical dilemma. I think I am violating these rules. And since Jake Delhomme has gotten hurt I am even more dependant on Brady.

One thing for certain, when the Patriots are in the playoffs, I will be back to routing for him to tear his ACL (because I can't freeze him).

UPDATE: Last night I found myself down by 1.82 going into the last GB drive against Chicago. Thanks to Brett Favre throwing an interception with no time left, I won by .18. 65.4 to 65.22. Not a great win, but a win none the less. I like Brett, but bidness is bidness.

True Blue (With a Few Exceptions)
Sometimes, you have to choose: pull for your home team, or for your fantasy league team. An ethical guide.

By Shawn Peters | October 7, 2007

It's Sunday, and you're watching your beloved Patriots trounce the historically hapless Cleveland Browns. But strangely enough, with the Patriots up by three touchdowns, the Browns' quarterback fades back and delivers a downfield strike to a streaking wide receiver and you actually have the urge to . . . cheer.

Are you confused? Psychotic? A masochist? No. You're just someone who plays fantasy sports, and you've just run smack into the greatest conflict in your stat-spouting, spouse-alienating life: Do you root for your home team or your fantasy team?

For the uninitiated, fantasy sports, a largely online endeavor, invites fans to play the role of "owner/general manager," assembling a roster of real-world players and accumulating their game stats in an effort to outmanage other owners for a league title. It's the high-tech lovechild of Strat-o-Matic Baseball and Dungeons & Dragons. In August, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association's yearly report indicated there are nearly 18 million people playing fantasy sports in the United States. That means that unless you're reading this from a hermetically sealed bubble, you either play or know someone who does, and, thus, you have been touched by this ethical dilemma: When, exactly, is it OK to pull for your fantasy team at the expense of your hometown squad? Believe it or not, there are immutable, unambiguous rules, and failure to follow them can lead to mockery at the hands of other sports fans.

First and foremost, the overriding maxim is that you never, ever, root against your home team when it's playing its mortal rivals. Yankees vs. Red Sox. Cowboys vs. Redskins. Lakers vs. Celtics. You are issued one soul at birth, and regardless of what it says on the receipt, there are no returns or refunds given when you sell it.

With that in mind, here are the few circumstances when it is allowable to put your fantasy team before your real-world team. Study them. Know them. Tattoo them on a body part that's easily accessible.

When the game is out of reach If the announcers are discussing the quality of their hotel's room service and the network, which spent all that money promoting and televising the game, is considering switching to another contest, you're off the hook. Go ahead and cheer for the other team's banjo-hitting shortstop to crush a few fastballs or for a backup running back to sprint 99 yards if it helps your fantasy team. No harm, no foul, since the game is as over as Michael Vick's endorsement deals.

When it's a matter of money Some leagues play for pride, others play for a little cash, and, finally, some play for sums of money more often associated with buying a factory-certified pre-owned Lexus. If your league falls into that third group, and an extra touchdown pass could be the difference between going home to your condo or living in a cardboard box, feel free to root for the fantasy team. As much as you love the Pats, Bob Kraft isn't about to let you live rent-free at Gillette Stadium.

When there's instant taunting involved Maybe you're the type who can blithely smile, comforted by your hometown team's success, while your head-to-head fantasy opponent talks more trash than Oscar the Grouch. I'm not. When in the presence of the person you have to beat, your fantasy team becomes the "us" and the other guy's squad is the "them," regardless of what laundry they're wearing. Root for "us."

When you care more than the real players Whether your favorite team is firmly ensconced in the playoff picture or is hopelessly out of it, this rule applies. There are times when a hit or a field goal or a win means everything to your fantasy team and not so much for the actual athletes playing the game. Once the Patriots or Sox have secured the division title, you're absolutely allowed to pull for the other side if it will allow you to claim your own fantasy crown.

When you're all alone I'd wager a first-round pick that there are several things you do in the privacy of your own home that aren't for public consumption. So, unless you have a pet that frowns on fan disloyalty, file this one under the category of "It's OK as long as no one sees you do it."

Shawn Peters is a fantasy football, baseball, and golf columnist for E-mail him at

5 comments: said...

Why don't you share with everyone WHY you hates the Pats so that they can see how misguided you are?

By the way, did the Jets lose this weekend? Again?

EzBlogger said...

Same reason I didn't like the sox in the late 90's early 00's. I don't route for teams I don't like.

Not Dante Bichette, Izzy Alcantra, Dan Douquette, and John Harrington. Not Bob Kraft, Jonathan Kraft, Bill Belichick, Randy Moss, etc.

Jets suck. The only way Chad Pennington is getting a ring is if he gets married. said...

I think your dislike for them is incredibly misguided. What do one group of people have to do with the other? Group A is a bunch of incompetents and Group B is their antithesis as three Super Bowls attest.

EzBlogger said...

I respect the Patriot players ut dislike the management so much I could never route for them as long as they are involved. said...

what is it you don't like about them? That they traded Curtis Martin? Let go Deion Branch? Played hardball with Asante Samuel? Told Viniteri to take a hike? As a famous philosopher once said: bidness is bidness.