Richard Sherman is one of the NFL’s most intense and emotional competitors, but don’t expect him to shed any tears over your latest fantasy setback.
The Seattle Seahawks cornerback took aim at fantasy football on Sunday night, saying the popular pastime causes fans to view players more as commodities than people. He aired his grievances in no uncertain terms, stating that players “don’t care about your fantasy team.”
“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,” Sherman said, according to Brady Henderson of ESPN. “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.'”
Sherman must feel strongly about the effects of fantasy football on NFL fans, as his complaints weren’t even in response to a question about fantasy. He had been asked about rookie running back Chris Carson, who suffered an ankle injury during Sunday’s 46-18 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
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While there is no timetable for Carson’s return, head coach Pete Carroll said the seventh-rounder out of Oklahoma State had hurt his ankle “significantly.”
“It’s terrible when you see things like that because we know these guys personally,” Sherman said. “A lot of times the fans know us from the surface and wear 32 [Carson’s number] 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 mum and girlfriend and wife might be going through.”
While Sherman’s explanation for the players’ indifference may have been eye-opening, it isn’t a popular view among fans and league officials. Fantasy football has become a significant subset of NFL fandom, as well as a major source of revenue. The Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimates that a record 59.3 million people in North America have played fantasy sports in 2017, with an average of $US46 per person spent on extras like paid leagues and premium advice websites.
But as popular as fantasy football is, the players on the field have bigger things to worry about. Sherman and the Seahawks will see their next action this Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.
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