Switching to salary cap drafts from auction drafts should be one of the most obvious changes that need to be made in our fantasy football language. Slavery was abolished 156 years ago in the US, and slave auctions were held during this time. The 13th Amendment Section 1 says, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Section 2 states, “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” So, slavery isn’t something that just happened a long time ago, but it still has ramifications today. In a way, slavery is still alive today, it just looks different then it did. Auctioning off people isn't done anymore, but the term still holds a lot of weight considering it wasn’t long ago that those types of auctions were held. Auction drafts in fantasy football should be called salary cap drafts because it humanizes the players, instead of treating them like property. It doesn’t matter the color of the player's skin, and no one wants to be auctioned off to people, even if it’s part of an imaginatory game.
When switching to salary cap drafts, let's also change our verbage to offering instead of bidding. Once again, this is to humanize these real players in this fake game that we play.
In 2017, ESPN held a live auction draft with a crowd of white people bidding on players such Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown, and Joe Mixon. As expected, Twitter blew up in outrage of this happening and the lack of sensitivity and sense in this ESPN sketch. ESPN’s Kevin Ots who is the Director of Communications, Digital Media/Technology released an apology that reads, “Auction drafts are a common part of fantasy football, and ESPN’s segments replicated an auction draft with a diverse slate of top professional football players. Without that context, we understand the optics could be portrayed as offensive, and we apologize.” Clearly, this isn’t the best apology, as it feels like they still didn’t realize why that sketch was so offensive.
My goal isn’t to just bash on ESPN for this, but to show a visual of how the words we use in fantasy football actually could sound to the ears of people of color who play this game. We should learn from ESPN’s mistake and take the word auction out of our vocabulary when talking about people in fantasy football.