The Importance of Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Sailor J makes a raucous debut, continuing RSJ's Fantasy Culture series by analyzing arguably the most crucial part to a successful league: friends & trash talk

If you’re reading this article looking for fantasy advice, stop now. Don’t waste another second.

In my most successful season, I finished in 6th place. In my other 3 years, I missed the playoffs entirely. I’m no one’s idea of a “fantasy expert.” Jay Cutler has been my fantasy quarterback for 4 years running, and somehow I still see unlimited ceiling — that should tell you enough.

But don’t think for a second that means that I care less about fantasy football than the champs, I just prefer to be “a guru” of another crucial realm: trash talk.  My attention is far more focused on  low blows than on the X’s and O’s of fantasy success. Allow me to explain…

My fantasy league is made up of 12 of my high school friends. We all grew up in the same city, and some of our friendships date back 20+ years. With that kind of bond, fantasy football, to me, has become more about staying in touch with the assholes you used to light shit on fire with than tracking Antonio Brown’s receiving targets.

I work on ships full time. I only spend 3-4 months in the U.S. each year, and most of my travel does not allow Internet access. The things I’ve seen and my tales from the deep could fill up pages. Perhaps that’ll be a story for another day.

But this puts me at a major disadvantage to be up on the latest fantasy action. The Wolf’s all hard for this guy David Johnson who I haven’t even seen play yet. Still, I love harassing my friends too much to quit. So, I throw $150 away each year for the sole purpose of talking shit.

It’s a price I happily pay, because this bunch of co-degenerates provides some of the primest material around. I mean, just take a peek at these assholes. A piece of shit so whipped that  he drives 6 hours to pick up a fucking rabbit. A guy so obsessed with how much cock athletes are slinging in their pants that he drafts based on EDS (estimated dick size). A tool shed who still beats off to Disney Princesses. Worst of all, a Mexican that can’t even speak Spanish.

And so we all tear each other to pieces, for shit like this and all the other idiotic throw ups, bed wettings, and horrible hookups in between. We ruthlessly rip one another as we all pursue the chance to have our name stitched into the greatest prize in sports today — not the Lombardi or Stanley’s Cup, but a headwear accessory most commonly found in Egypt and Cyprus.

The Fez. All praise it.  



Don’t get me wrong, I still love fantasy football. Prior to the annual draft, I do my share of research. I experiment with mock drafts from every position on the board, read articles online, and keep track of offseason personnel/coaching changes. I read about tendencies. I evaluate depth charts. I probably spend an hour a day preparing for the draft for the 2 months leading up to it.

So with that dedication why do I constantly finish in the basement of my league? Because I spend twice as much time trying to think up a clever team name that will degrade my opening week opponent.

I’ve attacked everything you can think of in this league. I’ve talked about friends’ mothers, sisters, and loved ones. I’ve ridiculed players’ pets and threatened the lives of their grandparents. Simply put, I’m a heartless sailor determined to sink every other ship in sight.

And although I’d love to climb the ladder to the top of our fantasy league, I get more joy talking about my friend’s receding hairline than I do over a fantasy victory. I like being able to keep in touch through messages so inappropriate that my leaguemates could get fired for opening it, at work.  The playoff picture would be nice, but thrashing my leaguemates is better.

That’s what makes fantasy football so great to me.

Let’s be clear. I’m a little fucked up. My friends are just as bad. So what if I like to deliver that friendly wake up text on a sunny Sunday morning in September telling my buddy to “go play in traffic.” It’s awesome to email a friend you haven’t seen in months and warn him that you are going to suck down rat poison if Jay Cutler throws another INT to end the first half. That’s why having a league of friends is crucial.

This column is reserved for the fantasy footballers like me, who are in it not to win it, but to shred their opponents’ souls. Those who enjoy a good story more than a good outcome.

So let’s tell it — share your finest trash talk stories over to


Most Popular

Related Posts