What’s up fantasy freaks?! This week’s commish corner is going to be brief, yet it’s an important topic in how to handle manager conflicts within your fantasy football league. Over the 100+ leagues I’ve ran in the past 10-15 years, I haven’t had a lot of serious manager conflicts/issues. Healthy rivalries have developed in some leagues, and multi-year trash talk is consistent between groups of managers. But sometimes a manager can go too far. There may not be a perfect way to handle these issues, but what I have done in the past has worked. So, let me share my ways with you so you know how it handle the issues if/when the time comes!
What should you do as a manager?
As the manager involved in the conflict, you should always go to your commish “behind the scenes” first with an issue. It makes it more difficult to resolve for all parties involved if the beef goes too far and explodes on the league message board. If you have an issue with a specific manager or how the league is being run, send your commish an email explaining the situation.
What should you do as a commissioner?
As the commissioner, you have a responsibility to maintain confidentiality (as needed) of your managers during times of conflict resolution. If one of your managers is coming to you with an issue, it’s likely that they are offended by someone or something in the league and don’t want it to be public knowledge right away. Like a bully in middle school, the guilty party knows who they are 95% of the time. The guilty party also knows exactly who they are bullying. Regardless, your next step is to email/text the bully, or guilty party, and get their side of the story. Explain the situation to them as an unbiased third-party and give them a chance to either explain their side or “confess” what they have been doing.
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In my experience, the guilty party usually admits that “they went too far” or “didn’t realize the person was offended”. Most leagues are playing with people who they have never met before. You need to understand this as the commissioner and act accordingly to that fact. Some managers join a league just to have a means to play the game. Others join for the camaraderie, trash talk, and thrill of playing against other like-minded managers. Unless your league has been together for years, it’s hard to tell which managers fit into each profile right away.
Keep the matter as private as possible first by engaging managers outside of the public forums your league may have. Ensure that both sides understand what your expectations are for the remainder of the season, league, etc. Finally, be sure to enforce any warnings you give those managers if the expectations are not met. Set the precedent in your league so no one else is tempted to act up. I hope you never have to deal with this but hit me up on Twitter if you need any advice on conflict resolution. Just don’t be like Michael Scott below: