To Whom It May Concern,
It’s the morning after the end of Concedegate, and, after reading various comments on the League PSN message boards and on the Twitch chat during the TMNL vs. The Green Tide Titans match yesterday, I feel it is appropriate to clarify what really went down over these last few days. So, I am going to do something that I would not normally do and break the fourth wall. As such, I am addressing you not while in character, as a fictional coach managing a fictional team, but as the actual person holding the controller behind those pixelated lizards you’ve been reading about all season.
As you may have noticed, I have been pretty involved in this League since I first joined it. I am constantly looking for creative ways to improve the League experience, whether it’s tracking & posting League team single-game records, individual League Leaders, and most popular teams; posting creative articles; continuing the tradition of announcing games that Leathyndra started before he left the league; cross-promotion of the MML with my own podcast…you get the picture.
Last week, I beat the The_Crow_09 in our Pro match, after which doneagle_ replied that if I beat Thunden the next week, I would have single-handedly locked up the Wasteland Athletic Conference for him. I responded by joking that I should just concede my game against Thunden. It was an offhand joke based upon my understanding that I could do that, if I chose to, under the rules. As I pointed out in my previous post, Concedegate: Serious Jest Stands Firm Against the League, this matter had previously been clarified by our Commissioner, Preach_MJ, supporting my right to do so. I originally meant for it to be a short exchange of jokes and then be done with it, but it quickly snowballed into a bunch of responses, not just from Don, but also a small group of other coaches, who started by telling me that it would be a “dick” or “douchebag” move on my part and who ultimately began arguing that I was prohibited from doing that by the rules and calling for a Commissioner ruling. At no point did I actually plan to concede, but I had 2 reactions.
On one hand, I was annoyed that this subject had been covered at length on Part 2 of Episode 9 of the podcast, including this particular set of events (see my previous post, referenced above), yet this group of coaches chose now, at the end of the regular season, to challenge for the first time the notion that someone who was so ahead in the standings that they didn’t need the win could concede a game 1 turn in to prevent injuries to their players. It especially bothered me that the person complaining and rallying everyone to try to control my choice stood to gain from me being forced to play the game out. I even started thinking of Don as “Deyoncé” and his fervent supporters as “The Deyhive.” In short, I didn’t think this tactic was fair.
Secondly, because people were so passionate about this subject—coaches around the League weighed in on both sides of the debate—I thought it would be a great opportunity for a publicity stunt. If I could keep this passionate debate going for a few days, people would be sure to tune in to what was sure to be an exciting end-of-the-season match with Thunden.
So, at the very beginning of this debate (and I mean within my first few PSN messages on the subject), I direct-messaged Preach and let him know that, no matter what I would say in the chat over the next few days, I fully planned to play my match. Knowing some of you much better than I do, he warned me to tread carefully, as some of you could develop animosity towards me that might be difficult to overcome. I was convinced, however, that once everyone found out that this was a ruse to bolster ratings and pump up the chatroom, it would be water under the bridge.
Over the course of 4 days, I put out 3 Concedegate-related articles. I’d like to think that they were creative; not just declarations that the League could go stuff its Rules & Regulations up its own butt. Preach even released a League article addressing the matter. It developed into an actual story-line.
The only other person that I told ahead of time that Concedegate was a hoax was Thunden. Our Week 7 game did not affect my playoff standing. Anything less than a win for him, though, would have eliminated him. I did not want him to be surprised when I started playing to win. So I warned him that I was really going to try to beat him. But I also asked him to keep it a secret and to help me hype up the match immediately beforehand. Hence, our back and forth messenger banter yesterday about what round I would concede in, etc. You may also have noticed that I put on my biggest jerk hat and talked some extra smack to some of you in order to play up the villain role. I’d like to think that even Don was rooting for Thunden at that point.
Concedegate may have been the most-watched match of the season. And I dare say we put on a hell of a show for you in terms of an exciting game. Our Commissioner always knew that I was not really trying to undermine the league. My opponent was warned ahead of time that I was not going to concede. All in all, I’d say Concedegate was a success.
Now, like I said, I read your Twitch comments during the game. I didn’t want to respond or talk during the broadcast because I had already drafted a post-game article I planned to post, and I wanted to give Don the chance to address how he felt about the whole thing on the podcast, if he so chose.
Out of anyone in this League, Don is the guy that I could most understand getting upset or annoyed by Concedegate. He had a stake in the matter. I still don’t believe that he would have had the right to stop me from conceding, but I could see why he might be annoyed at the whole affair on the same day that it concluded. Plus, I took a few jabs at him in press releases and in our messaging group to hype up the event. So, I was fully expecting him to have some choice words for me on the podcast, and I arguably would have had it coming.
However, I also read the word “trolling” used by other coaches. A couple of people questioned my maturity. Another even suggested that Concedegate was unsportsmanlike and cause for league discipline.
Hopefully, now that you all know what really transpired behind Concedegate, we’re all good. The hatchet is buried, and we can move on.
But just in case you still harbor some misgivings, consider this: “Trolling” is a term we use to denote sowing discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people to deliberately provoke people and incite chaos (and I’m not talking about Knob Creek and his buddies), for the troll’s own amusement. What I have described above is not me simply throwing out inflammatory comments and threatening to pull the pin on a playoff-race hand grenade. It was a S3 plot twist fully developed over several creative articles, and with safeguards to ensure that the pending match was not actually affected. Even if you don’t think it was funny, or you didn’t like the articles (in which case you probably didn’t even read them), or you wouldn’t have done it that way yourself, reason should be telling you by now that I did it to try to do yet another creative thing that was good for the league, not to hurt the league. I bet you won’t forget Concedegate.
If you still hate it and believe that it was wrong, then I invite you to come up with your own creative ways to contribute to this League. I am more than willing to listen to constructive criticism from someone who consistently strives to add to the League, like Preach, More_Shots, DaltMC, Don, etc. To keep it real, though, if you’re a huge vocal critic of everyone else’s ideas and contributions, but your own contribution is just playing your matches and making snarky comments on the message boards, well, maybe that troll you’ve been pointing at actually lives in your own mirror.
Serious Jest out.