OS: Odie Seuss, here, for ESPN. I’m sitting here with Coach Serious Jest of TMNL at the Trojan Norse, a bar in a frozen wasteland, far away from tropical Isla Nublar. His entire team is here, drunk and tearing up the place. Coach Jest, what are you doing here?
SJ: What can I say? My team loves Valkyries. And with all of their men recently leaving town to go play in Blood Bowl matches, I figured, “What better time to have some fun out here?”
OS: Isn’t it a bit irresponsible to be out here drinking, far away from your stadium, when you have a home game this week against The Green Tide Titans?
SJ: Yeah, if we were actually trying to win that game.
OS: About that…are you aware of the League’s press release concerning the internal investigation conducted concerning its Rules & Regulations pertaining to conceded matches?
SJ: I read it while on the toilet this morning. Then I used it to wipe my butt.
OS: Wasn’t it…released electronically?
SJ: Do you like my new phone?
OS: Yes, well…how, if at all, does that change your stance about playing The Green Tide Titans this week?
SJ: Well, Odie, I retained my own counsel as well: Meme, Ice, Elf & Eye; and that highly-intelligent braintrust has conclusively concluded that the report doesn’t say anything.
OS: Excuse me?
SJ: Look at it, Odie. The suggested revision is the exact same language…just split into two sections. It basically denounces conceding in advance, by not showing up, which I have never said that I was going to do. However, it also seems to contemplate situations in which conceding in game may be appropriate. It would make no sense to require in-game concessions to be approved in advance by the League, unless the League plans to watch every single game and be immediately available to intelligently give such permission based on the context of the game, which we know that the League is not prepared to do. I mean, let’s be real. It takes over 24 hours sometimes just to get a farm ticket or an article posted.
SJ: The Commissioner himself has acknowledged that the rules, as they stand right now, would not prohibit in-game concessions. I specifically asked him about it when I guest-hosted Episode 9 of MMLPro Talk, the League’s official podcast, through which the League often passes official information. About 7 minutes into Part 2 of that episode, I specifically pointed out to the Commissioner that the League prohibition on concedes appears to apply only to concedes in advance, and not to in-game concedes. The Commissioner clearly replied, “Correct.”
OS: Yes, I remember that.
SJ: Around the 9-minute mark of that part of that episode, while we were discussing MRBIG83’s rage quit against The_Crow_09 in Week 2, the Commissioner again repeated that he did not take issue with the in-game concede itself, but that BIG’s failure to respond afterwards that he intended to keep playing, after he removed his team from the MML, was the problem. The Commissioner even told the story of how the Cult of Khorne conceded to his New Orcland Grunts in Season 1 because they didn’t want to keep taking injuries, and how that was fine. The Commissioner said, verbatim, “If you wanna concede, you can concede. The League allows it.”
SJ: But most relevant to this particular situation, at the 1-hour-and-15-minute mark of the very same part of the very same episode, I described a hypothetical situation to the Commissioner that is pretty much the very one that I am in now: a team finishes the season way ahead of its conference opponents in the standings, and the coach decides to concede in Turn 1 of a meaningless game in order to save wear and tear on his team in preparation for the playoffs. I asked the Commissioner, “How does the League react?” He replied, “It doesn’t…that would be their strategy.” Again, after expanding the hypothetical to describe an opposing team that was especially bashy, I asked him, at about 1 hour, 17 minutes, and 15 seconds in, whether the League would sanction a coach for conceding, and he responded, “If you got to Turn 1, though, and you conceded after that, I guess that’s on you.”
SJ: You don’t have to take my word for it. It’s immortalized on the website. Look it up yourself and listen.
OS: Now you said all of that is in Part 2 of Episode 9, right?
SJ: Correct. So, then, Odie, the question becomes: if there has been an established history of allowing teams to call it quits in game, along with the Commissioner’s express affirmation in the past that this was allowed, even specifically as it pertains to the exact situation that I am now facing, why, all of a sudden, does this become a problem?
OS: Why do you think that is?
OS: Don Eagle?
SJ: Don and the Commissioner seem to have a special relationship of some kind. I don’t know if it’s based on friendship, or if Don has compromising pictures of the Commissioner dressed in a gnome costume, or what…but it just seems that Don is constantly lobbying for advantages. Whether it’s pushing the Commissioner to hurry up and replace an opposing coach who might fail to play him that week—when other coaches like Crow had received League-Managed wins 2 weeks in a row—or pushing to get early information about the Season 4 TV cap because he wants to better plan his team now. And the Commissioner is constantly relenting to this pushiness.
SJ: With this whole situation regarding TMNL’s scheduled match with The Green Tide Titans, Don has tried to rally public sympathy for Crow. Told everyone that poor Crow was getting screwed out of a chance to make the playoffs. But as I told you in the last interview, Crow’s team is already eliminated from the playoffs. In fact, if TMNL beats The Green Tide Titans, Don’s team will have locked up the Wasteland Athletic Conference Championship before Week 8…the WAC Championship game won’t matter. So let’s be real: the only coach that would be [makes air quotes] “getting screwed” if TMNL was to lose to The Titans would be Don…because then Thunden would still have the chance to overtake him in the conference championship.
OS: Makes sense.
SJ: So let’s summarize: all of a sudden, there is a movement to institute a new hard rule against in-game concedes that has never existed before in this League, in order to keep me from avoiding any injuries to my team and letting Don’s last remaining opponent face him in a conference championship game that actually means something. Other people have been allowed to quit to avoid injury, but I’m required to subject my team to a highly-dangerous orc team with several members skilled in the ancient art of Mai-Tee-Blo? And the application of this rule would start now, after we’re already approaching the playoffs? I ask you, Johnny CochRAM: does that make sense? Because, to me, that sounds like an 8-foot Wookie not just living on Endor with a bunch of 2-foot tall Ewoks, but actually settling down there, raising a family of 8-foot-tall half-Ewok children (the tall gene is dominant), and being elected Chief Ewok. It sounds like an arbitrary and biased application of the rules, and we don’t believe that the Commissioner would be within his authority to enforce that under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. In any case, we will not be bullied; we will do what we believe is best for our team, not anyone else’s; and if the League wants to try to sanction us afterwards…well, we’ll appeal it to the highest court of the land. If all else fails, the League has also stated that teams may be removed after two consecutive concedes…so we’d rather play wood elves in a meaningless game than orcs. As a matter of fact, my schedule’s pretty busy this week, so I may not really have time to play my Week 7 game even if I want to.
OS: I see. Well, once again, this has been Odie Seuss, for ESPN, bringing you the exclusive on what has been dubbed “Concedegate.” We will keep informing you of all new developments as this situation plays out…or doesn’t play…out.
SJ: Get out of here, Odie, that blonde’s coming over.