Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith teed off on fantasy football owners early Tuesday morning after he was besieged with negative tweets for his four-catch, 69-yard performance in Monday night's win over the Detroit Lions.
I hate y'all fantasy folks who are tweeting me about your fake team...y'all make me sick...Ravens win that's all that matters to meâ Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) December 17, 2013
Two days later, Smith isn't backing off those comments.
"Yeah, it's terrible," Smith said Thursday, via The Baltimore Sun. "I think fantasy football is awesome for the fans. It's a way to interact and be like their own GM, in a sense. But it crosses the line when you wish players harm ... people saying, 'I hope you break your leg because if you score one point ...'
"Then, you have people Tweeting about Calvin Johnson," Smith went on. "I saw someone I follow that I unfollowed him instantly because he was like, 'Calvin Johnson is the worst player in the league.' C'mon. Fantasy stuff is going way too far, but it's the minority of the people. I'm not foolish enough to think it's the entire fantasy world, but it's those few that mess it up."
It's a fair point. Fantasy football is often misunderstood by critics who have never participated in the hobby. It doesn't have to compromise one's loyalty. It doesn't have to take away from the enjoyment of watching a game. In fact, it enhances the experience and fosters greater knowledge of football.
On the other hand, it's easy to lose perspective and self-control. Those flaws are magnified by the easy access to professional athletes provided by Twitter.
In an interview with The New York Times last year, I made the point that the hobby has grown progressively darker as the popularity rages out of control. There should be just a hint of shame involved when one lives out his fantasies through the actions of others.
Unchecked obsessives too often grow emboldened enough to believe that another person -- even the ones they claim to "own" -- might care one iota about their rosters full of fake football players.