When the news broke Tuesday afternoon about Cam Newton being in a car accident, there was an immediate authentic and hopeful reaction from myself and other Fantasy analysts on a national level. We simply hoped that he was not severely injured. Thankfully, better news came out after some initially terrible rumors were squashed.
When an incident like this happens, we should be quickly reminded that no matter how much these players are paid, or seem like major, unreachable celebrities to many of us, or simply names in our Fantasy lineups, they are indeed people we should be thankful for, and not just for than winning and losing and filling our Sundays. In the frenzy of the game of Fantasy Football we enjoy so much, often from behind our keyboards, we can lose sight of the fact that the games we enjoy so much would not be possible at all without people like Cam Newton.
Immediately after the accident I received a social media message from someone asking if it was wrong to hope there was just a minor injury (but enough to keep him sidelined) so his Fantasy opponent this week would not have Newton available. My response was swift and undeterred. I never root or hope for injuries. Bad outings are one thing. Wishing for any health maladies is something I will never endorse on any level. Not as a fan or a Fantasy player.
We become so passionate about Fantasy Football, that we often forget about those who make it possible. Especially when some of us take to the cowardly practice of attacking the athletes on social media. Fantasy Football, as much as we all love it and it is a huge part of our lives, is not life and death, as the cliché goes. Today’s Newton incident could have been about life or death. Very thankfully, it was not. Yet it should provide a needed opportunity for us all to stop and think for a minute about these people that make our fun game possible. They are not just robots programmed to pass, catch and run. At the end of the day, they are people just like us. Cam Newton was likely very scared and anxious today, as any us would be. That makes all of us essentially just like him in many ways, and the wide gulf between fan and athlete suddenly disappears.
When the news struck, it was great to see that most of us rallied as a huge collective community of sports fans to support and pray for Newton. The competitive lines and boundaries were erased. Let’s not forget that stance next time one of us takes to Twitter to decry or insult a player because he simply didn’t deliver the stats we needed. Instead, we should always remember that these are people, ones who make our terrific hobby of Fantasy Sports possible in the first place. Without the Cam Newtons of the world, we’re not playing Fantasy Sports at all. It always seems very easy to take the athletes for granted. But it is much more meaningful and shows real appreciation and true character to be thankful for them. Maybe we just don’t do that enough.
So in honor of Cam Newton, take to social media today and actually thank your favorite Fantasy player or athlete for enriching your life. Let’s show these guys how much they really do mean to us. Because there are no statistics without those who make the numbers possible and fun. Look past the live scoring, and take today as an opportunity to reach out to that special person who made you happy or even sad about your Fantasy team or favorite team this week or year. They touch our lives every time they make a play, good or bad. Let’s show our appreciation for having the wonderful and unique opportunities to feel either way.
Thank you, Cam Newton. As a nation of Fantasy Football players, we revere you and pray for you.