Ask The Commish: Two Players in my League Switched Teams!

By Reginald James
Reginald James

I just found out that two players in my league switched teams. Allegedly, they did it after the draft. It came out because someone else texted who they thought was running the team about a trade. Now I’ve got people upset claiming collusion, and there are some people who don’t care. I’m letting it go because they explained to me why they did it. They liked the other person’s team, and they thought they’d do it for the fun of it. They haven’t traded with each other. That was like a rule they made when they decided to swap, and do what they’re calling “the experiment.” They said they had agreed not to trade with anyone else but then the trade offer went to the “wrong” person.


These guys are like best friends and they’ve been good owners in our league for a long time. I don’t think they meant any harm, and they haven’t done anything shady, and they never have before. So of course, I have to do or say something. I just wish they’d told me because I feel like I got blindsided, but other than that I feel like the people who are upset don’t really have a good reason especially after they were told the whole story. I’m going to send out a message calling no foul and l’m not going to discipline them in any way. I’m not sure what I’d do at this point anyway. This is a nothing burger right? I’m confident in my position, but I like reading your stuff, and appreciate your take on things, and I was more curious than anything else what you thought about this. Although, if you feel I should do something, I’d be interested to know what that would be. Thanks.


Wow, thanks for sharing. Just know, this is the most interesting letter this season. To be honest, I’ve never heard of anyone doing this (not in the way you described it), so thank you for that.


Yup, they should’ve told you right from the start. That’s the main issue I have with this. Yes, you got blindsided. I agree with you. These two jokers unnecessarily put you in a difficult position. Now you’ve got disgruntled league members to deal with. If they had told you that they wanted to partake in some fantasy swippy-swapping, you could’ve addressed it with them directly at that time. You then could’ve addressed the league (who they also blindsided, by the way) before any games were played, even if it turned out that your stance was the same, as far as you and your “nothing burger” are concerned. In this regard, it’s not cool that they weren’t transparent about what they decided to do. If, as you say, they’ve been in the league for a long time, then it seems to me they would’ve been more confident in telling everyone before they did it. Since they are vets in the league, the good will, or good faith buffer they may have built up over time, potentially could have neutralized any adverse reaction that they now face. Maybe then there wouldn’t be backlash from some of your league members. Even though they know the whole story now, I do feel they are justified to feel negative about the whole thing, at least initially.


There’s a part of me that doesn’t totally believe this was a post-draft decision, but it appears you trust the story they told you. You know them, I don’t. What does stand out to me, is that they hadn’t made any trades, either with each other, or with anyone else. That would seem to favorably support their story. On the other hand, when it comes to trading with other managers, maybe they just didn’t get the opportunity. Perhaps that is why it hasn’t happened yet, and not because they made a pact not to do it. After all, that’s what blew this whole thing up, when someone did approach one of them, right? What happened? Did Joker No. 1 forget to simply decline the trade? Did they mistakenly text back in a way that indicated they didn’t have the players that it was assumed they had? I’d like to know a little more on how that actually played out.


If you haven’t sent out your league correspondence yet addressing the issue, I’d suggest that even though you are fine with what they did, I’d try not to be overly flippant about it in your messaging. While I don’t think the “experiment” should topple your league onto its head - it’s not a nothing burger - and the grievances some of the others have about it, should be acknowledged in some way and not summarily dismissed. As I see it, your job now, is to reduce any lingering resentment among league members (whether you agree with them or not) as much as you can. Even if you may not feel this is a serious thing, you want to make sure that those that are now agitated, at least feel that their concerns have been heard. That’s really important.


Also, it doesn’t matter now whether the two really were being honest or not, when they said they weren’t going to trade with other managers during their little season-long masquerade. That was the story they told you, so they now have to stick to it. As commissioner, I’d make sure that everyone understood this going forward.



Would it be fair for me to overturn a trade that the league voted on, but I strongly disagree with how they voted? Is there ever a situation when that would be justified?


First, I will say this over and over until I gasp my last breath: league members should not get to vote on, or have veto power over, anyone’s trades. That takes care of the scenario you just described because there would be nothing for you as commissioner to overturn.


Now to answer your question directly: no. What kind of situation do you mean? One where a commissioner (you?) feel that the trade is a really, really, absolutely, unequivocally, positively “fair” trade? Unless it’s documented as a rule in writing that you have that option, you’re out of luck. Do you have a rule that the commissioner can overrule a league vote regarding trades? I’m assuming you don’t, and hence your question. If that’s the case, then you can’t, and shouldn’t be allowed to do it. Stinks, right?


Sure, nothing is really stopping you from bucking the league rules as they stand now, and tell the league, “Hey! I don’t know why you would block this trade. I’m overruling and letting it go through, even though I don’t have standing to do so per the rules, but I’m the commissioner and I can do whatever I want, so there!” If for some reason, the idea of league harmony is unbearable to you, and you feel like opening that can of worms stocked away in your pantry, by all means, go for it.


Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is during the offseason, decide either to eliminate league voting on trades altogether, which is what I would strongly suggest, or keep league voting, but give the commissioner final veto power. One last thing, if you started this league yourself, I would make the change that you feel the most comfortable with, and would not put it up for a league vote. Create the league environment that you want. If others balk and want to leave, fine. Bring in new people.




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