Sunday featured a lot of grueling injuries across the NFL.
With that in mind, some people were more concerned with checking the implications those injuries had on their starting fantasy lineups rather than showing concern for the well-being of the affected players.
Therein lies one of the biggest problems of fantasy sports: It dehumanizes the players, turning them into nothing more than means to an end for armchair quarterbacks that have a $200 pool and bragging rights around the water cooler at stake in their work league.
It’s an unfortunate side effect that has accompanied the metamorphosis of fantasy football, as the activity has evolved from a fun hobby with your friends to further add to the NFL Sunday experience into a full-on, money-incentivized commitment that features more formats than you can imagine and is the subject of countless websites, magazines and now even gambling outfits like FanDuel and DraftKings.
The season, only eight weeks in, has seen lots of high-profile injuries, as point machines like Jamaal Charles, Tony Romo, Le’Veon Bell and Dez Bryant have all suffered severe injuries at one point or another this season.
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon Sunday against the Chargers. Many won’t give it a second thought, however, even though Smith is one of the best receivers of the last 15 years. Instead, they’ll be more concerned with finding a replacement for him on the waiver wire.
The same goes for Seattle receiver Ricardo Lockette. In a game against the Dallas Cowboys, Lockette found himself on the receiving end of a brutal hit that left him lying lifeless on the field for nearly five minutes. While the result of this hit remained mired in uncertainty at the time, some took to Twitter to voice their displeasure over Lockette’s “lack of toughness” and how he was going to cost them their oh-so-precious games.
People were seemingly oblivious to the fact that a man with a family and friends could have potentially suffered a possibly career – life-threatening – injury. Luckily, Lockette was able to wave to the crowd with his arms, and later had neck surgery. But it could have been much worse.
In the end, people need to snap back to reality. NFL players risk their bodies, their livelihood, every Sunday to play America’s most-watched sport. It might be a source of entertainment, but that doesn’t mean the players’ primary goal is to entertain, and it certainly isn’t to win you your $200 pool.