For a large segment of NFL fans – and even some who aren’t avid followers of the sport – fantasy football is a way of life.
But social media and the ability to directly interact with players (or those that run their accounts) means many of those fantasy players take to Twitter or Instagram to accost players for not putting up enough points for their liking or for getting hurt and “ruining” their season, as if the $50 they put up to play in a league with 11 buddies is more important than a man’s health and career.
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Third-year Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson was the top player taken in many fantasy drafts after racking up 2,118 yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns, both league highs, in 2016. But during the Cardinals’ season-opening loss to the Detroit Lions, Johnson suffered a dislocated wrist; he underwent surgery a few days ago and will be out for eight weeks or longer.
On Wednesday, Johnson chatted with reporters for the first time since his injury, and apparently was asked if he’s thinking about those who have him on their fantasy teams.
“No, no, that’s the last thing,” Johnson said. “Fantasy is the last thing on my mind right now.”
Scrolling through tweets that mention Johnson – @DavidJohnson31 – there are many that are supportive, wishing him well and offering prayers as he begins his rehab. But there are numerous others from “fans” telling Johnson “thanks for costin me my season” or telling him “you look like you’re ready to play next week. Please do so.”
And after his comments on Wednesday, there were those who criticized Johnson for (rightfully) saying he’s not concerned with fantasy football.
Johnson isn’t the only NFL player who doesn’t really care how his health or bad day impact your fantasy team.
Last Saturday, as it was still unknown whether the Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. would make his regular-season debut after suffering an ankle sprain in the preseason, the receiver tweeted, “No offense. I could care less about ur fantasy team. This is my Real Life. Focusing on gettin healthy and gettin better. 1 day at a time.”
No offense. I could care less about ur fantasy teams. This is my Real Life. Focusing on gettin healthy and gettin better. 1 day at a time.
— Odell Beckham Jr (@OBJ_3) September 16, 2017
As noted by a couple of respondents to Beckham’s post, “No offense” describes the Giants through two weeks, even with Beckham, who played on Monday night against Detroit.
One of Beckham’s teammates, Brandon Marshall, has been a disappointment in his first two games with the Giants, with two catches on nine targets. Many fantasy players who thought they were tweeting trash talk to Marshall the receiver ended up tweeting to Brandon Marshall the Broncos linebacker, and Marshall the linebacker had some fun giving it right back to them.
It’s undeniable that fantasy football has helped the NFL, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that they are men who have good and bad days, and can suffer career-impacting injuries. If you want to gamble on those ups and downs, well, that’s why it’s called a gamble.
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