Ask The Commish: Would You Pull Deshaun Watson from Draft Pool?

By Reginald James
Reginald James

Our draft is scheduled for next Saturday. We just aded two of three new members to our league. They replace former members who I didn’t invite back. It was actually hard to fill those last two spots. It took longer than I thought it would. I want to push the draft back for a least one more week to give the newcomers time to prepare. Should I just make the decision, or present it to the league? The draft is online, some of us get together, but it’s never been any thing formal. I want to move the draft, but I also don’t want to make it seem like no one has a say, and in reality I might be screwing up someone’s plans so that wouldn’t be cool.


I think it’s great you’re trying to make everyone happy. Sometimes, there are pitfalls when commissioners try to do that. However, in this case, I don’t think the situation is that complicated. I think it’s a cool move to think about moving the draft back. It’s a good-faith nod to the two new people who are coming into your league. I also agree that you should think about the established managers in your league.


You should announce what you want to do, and make sure to state the reasons why. Your reasons for moving the date aren’t trivial and the other members of your league might actually agree with you. It’s important to be transparent in what you want.


You also might want to acknowledge that you could be changing someone’s plans for the following week and that you want to make sure that you’re not causing an issue. Folks who fall in that category may be more likely to rework their schedule because you actually recognized their situation. Empathy goes a long way in pretty much every case I can think of. People’s time is important to them. In some cases, what’s even more important to them (whether they realize it or not), is that others recognize that their time is important. I hope it all works out.




I saw someone on Twitter say they weren’t going to allow Deshaun Watson to be drafted. I haven’t considered doing that. Is this really a thing? Just curious.


I’ve seen only a couple of posts myself. I don’t think it’s a major thing going on, but who knows? I always try to remind myself, Twitter is a bubble, a world of its own. It’s easy to get caught up thinking that everybody is on it. Everybody is not. You didn’t ask whether you should do it, but I will say while league commissioners can do whatever they want, I personally don’t think it’s a good idea.


I would ask anyone who’s thinking about doing it, whether or not they’ve always implemented a draft restriction like this, or has Deshaun Watson’s predicament stirred them to do this for the first time? If so, I would ask, what’s the difference between him and other players who got suspended in the past? Why didn’t they do the same thing for those players? Maybe they did. Also, will they institute this practice going forward for all players, or will they pick and choose who gets the draft restriction? Why do they get to make that decision? “Because I’m the commissioner,” would not be a good response.


I think league managers should be allowed to draft whoever they want. If the player is in the draft pool, then there should be no restrictions imposed by the league commissioner. It’s up to each person to assess their own risk. How many people drafted Michael Thomas last season, and held on to him the entire season? I didn’t, but a lot of people did. Granted, he wasn’t on suspension. How many fantasy rosters were Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon (Josh Gordon!?) on when those two were watching football on the couch like the rest of us?


In Watson’s case specifically, if someone wants to draft a player who will miss six (or maybe even more) games, and let that player fill a roster spot instead of someone that can actually help them during those weeks Watson will be suspended, that’s their call. That’s not a move I would make, but others in my league can go for it.


What I would never do as a commissioner however, would yank Watson from the draft pool if he was available to be drafted, because of my own personal opinion or moral assessment of him. For me, it’s not my right to impose that on the rest of the league, affecting someone else’s player options, or style of roster management.



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