Commissioners Quandaries – The Dreaded “V” Word
As Commissioners we have all been there before, a site generated email hits your inbox letting you know a trade has commenced in a league you run. You open it, intrigued to see what assets have exchanged hands, and low and behold it turns out to be an absolute head scratcher. Lopsided trades are something commissioners dread. Well at this point usually only one word comes to mind, well one “G” rated word anyways, the dreaded “V” word that all experienced commissioners dread hearing, saying or even thinking. Veto.
From past painful experiences I've learned that a single vetoed trade can be the beginning of the end for even the most established of leagues. The owner on the short end of the stick so to speak, is now humiliated and ridiculed in front of the entire league as other owners discuss the legitimacy of the trade in question. The owner on the winning side of the deal is now labelled a con man, or even a cheater, whether they deserve it or not. Potentially being villianized due to the simple fact of just clicking accept. I mean what's a guy supposed to do if an “Instant Accept” offers comes along? Message the offering owner and let him know his offer is terrible and the rest of the league will hate it so perhaps he should rethink it? Let's be honest, very few people choose that route. The vast majority of owners click accept while grinning from ear to ear and giggling, thinking they just hit the trade lottery, not caring one bit about the impending gong show the league is about to incur as a result.
So now what? There are always options regarding a bad trade, depending on how your trade approval options are set up. There is the commissioner approval option which can go two ways, as a commissioner you can just click accept and let the other owners voice their displeasure and fight it out on the forum, which to me causes unnecessary stress on the league. I prefer declining it as the commissioner, messaging both owners involved, and explaining why it was vetoed. Providing some data supporting why you declined the deal will definitely help when both owners question why there trade was just wiped out. Another option is having the league vote on all trades made, but this has also been a point of contention in leagues I've ran in the past, often dividing the league depending on how owners vote on particular trades. Another reason why I personally dislike the owner vote option is because I can't even count how many times a trade has gone down in a league I ran and an owner who isn't involved in the trade messages me and says something to the effect of... Wow, I can't believe how bad “side A” got ripped off, and before I can even reply to them another message comes across saying. Can you believe that trade! Man did “side B” get ripped off.
After running leagues in various sports with owners of all walks of life for well over a decade, I personally believe that unless a trade is unanimously regarded as outrageous throughout the league, or obvious collusion has taken place, that no trades should be vetoed. Rarely will a league as a whole ever agree on a blockbuster trade, because no two owners value players, rookie picks, or devy picks the same. And besides who am I to tell my league mates that their current player valuation system is flawed and that mine is correct? I have also noticed that after a vetoed trade the two involved owners often can become reluctant to make any trades moving forward, due to fear of future deals being under the league microscope.
So as a commissioner it's integral to try and keep an open mind for all trades that occur, and look at them from all possible angles. Whether that means looking at the deal from the rebuilding side, the contender side, or even the I'm bored and its July so I made a trade side. It's also important to remember that a league is only as good as the commissioner running it, and that all parties involved are playing a game they enjoy, regardless of monetary incentives.