In the midst of sports these days, it seems as though the next scandal is just around the corner. We’ve seen it in college football with recruiting, certainly with what happened at Penn State, and the numerous steroid controversies that have riddled the MLB over the past 15 years. After all of these scandals, I have found myself wondering, what is going to happen next? Over this Thanksgiving break, a friend and I were discussing this at length, trying to determine which scandal that we could remember being the worst. Was it the Kobe Bryant sex scandal? Was it Spygate? Was it David Stern not allowing the Chris Paul trade to the Lakers? For my friend, the NBA referees gambling on the games was the worst, while I thought Pete Rose gambling against himself was the most egregious. Since we both agreed that anyone tampering with the outcome of a game by placing money on it was the worst thing any athlete or referee could do, I couldn’t help but think, “What about fantasy?”
As any college-aged male, I have become obsessed with my fantasy teams and with the basketball season starting to hit its stride, my fantasy basketball team is becoming my main focus. I missed the draft, and I had to recover as fast as I could, but not before falling to a 0-3 start (which may quickly fall to 0-4 depending on certain performances, but that is neither here nor there). We have seen that athletes take a hold of Twitter and other social media, but do they play fantasy? And if they do, how long will it be before players are throwing games in high stakes fantasy leagues? The internal conflict that would plague an athlete who is guarding someone on his fantasy team would be almost unbearable. As any participant of fantasy sports would tell you, “I will do anything to win.” Even I have taken part in some questionable fantasy scandals within leagues where no money was on the line. The waiver list is always controversial, as is scheming with the commissioner. Even this week, I have requested the commissioner to make an extra small forward position so I could pick up a player that someone else dropped, which caused quite a stir amongst the league.
To top it all off, fantasy sports has become such an integral part of sports culture that we now have a TV show dedicated to the shenanigans that go on amongst a fantasy league. Athletes, now more than ever, are the trend setters of social media and I would be shocked if athletes didn’t have some sort of a fantasy team. These guys live and breathe the sports they play. And if they are like me, they would be willing to put money on their teams being the best. It’s only a matter of time before someone in the media finds out about it. Proving that players were under-performing to help a fantasy team would be awfully difficult, and up until a few days ago I would have thought it to be absolutely ridiculous as well as utterly disgusting on the part of an athlete. Then again though, we have seen some disgusting scandals in sports.