Pro athletes not living in fantasy sports world
July 18, 2009
More than 15 million people play fantasy sports and spend about $1.5 billion annually, according to an article that appeared in the “Texas Review of Sports Law.”
Fantasy sports are popping up everywhere, allowing fans to draft a team of real players and decide whether to play a player or sit him on the bench. The fans’ team success is determined by the results of each athlete on the team during that day’s games.
Fantasy sports have taken over the fan world, but have they taken over the world of current and former proffesional athletes?
“I think a lot of guys play fantasy sports,” said Dan Marino, a former NFL quarterback.
Marino, however, said he does not play fantasy sports even though he gives advice on selections and chooses a fantasy player of the day in part of his job with CBS Sports.
“It is not that I don’t enjoy what is going on, I don’t really make it a priorty,” Marino said. “But maybe I should.”
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Kenny Lofton, a former baseball player, said he tried fantasy football once but did not stick with it.
“I just want to watch a good football game,” Lofton said. “I am not trying to figure out, one guy how many yards he is scoring. I just want to watch the game. I am a fan of the game, not all of the stats stuff.”
Jerome Bettis, former Pittsburg Steelers’ running back, said he agrees that there are a lot of athletes who are involved, but he is not one of them.
“I never got into fantasy sports because as a player people got mad at you for things you did, and I never understood it,” Bettis said. “I have always been against fantasy sports.”
Emmitt Smith, a former Dallas Cowboys’ running back, said he has seen fantasy sports change different aspects of the game.
“I think it drives a lot more interest to the game. You have women that are involved in fantasy football that otherwise would not even think about looking at football,” Smith said. “With the game in the fantasy world, you have people that are associated with different fan clubs around the country, but cheering for certain players. It is a different game.”
Smith said he does not play fantasy sports and doesn’t know of any professional colleagues playing the game.
Matt Ryan, current Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback, said he does not currently play fantasy sports, and the only one he would have an interest in playing is fantasy football, but the NFL does not permit players to do so.
Ryan added that he played some fantasy baseball while he was in college but has not stuck with it.