Let’s say you’re a supporter of a professional football team. We’ll call them the Orangemen. Not the Syracuse Orangemen, since they’re just the “Orange” now. Same state though, just for consistency’s sake. The New York Orangemen.
A flamboyant, rich businessman sees an opportunity, swoops in and buys the team. His name is Ronald. Ronald Chump.
Ronald Chump is known far and wide for his ability to fail, over and over, without losing even an ounce of moxie. Most Orangemen fans love his style so much that they don’t even see his obvious failures as failures. Ronald fosters that love by being delusional to the point of truly believing he is invincible.
Lost the Super Bowl? Educate yourself, libtard. It was rigged, everyone knows that. If you factor out the points scored by illegally hired players, the Orangemen actually won the championship. Team went bankrupt four times? Only a very smart businessman like Chump would be able to navigate the system to avoid paying debts, keep the team, and stay rich.
At last, the Orangemen have an owner who says what’s on his mind and does what needs to be done to win! We’re going to win so much, we’ll get tired of winning.
Opponents’ supporters can’t stand the Orangemen or Mr. Chump. Naysayers hold up the standings and show that the Orangemen, contrary to Chump’s raving, haven’t won a single game since he bought the team. They’re a team full of pompous, elitist jerks. And the team is led by the most disconnected, clueless, aggressively ignorant man on the planet, rivals’ fans say. They interview former members of the Orangemen who decry the depths to which Chump has taken the team.
“WRONG. Fake news,” says Chump.
“Of course they say those things. They are on the other side. You can’t trust a single word they say, because they’re only motivated by anti-Orangemen and anti-Chump partisanship. And if we’re not winning, why are team t-shirt and hat sales up so much, huh?”
Little by little, things start to unravel for Ronald Chump and the Orangemen. Former head coach Pal Moneyfort is fired, only to find himself indicted in a massive scandal due to his involvement with the league’s number one enemy: the Russian Football League, or RFL.
The RFL is a third-rate league that is untelevised except on a minor, Russian-owned television network. The players are undersized, underpaid guys. They are known to play mainly out of fear of being poisoned if they quit.
Oddly, the RFL has almost as much money as the NFL, even though most of the country is poor and the population doesn’t even follow football. Chump once tried to buy an RFL team—the St. Petersburg Borschtmakers. He was attracted by the opportunity to build classy hotels, but even more so by the locals’ penchant for watersports. Chump has always had a passion for watersports, like boating and waterskiing. After a brisk day in the Russian outdoors, there’s nothing he loves more than warming up in a 98.6-degree shower made of pure gold.
Unfortunately, his efforts to get into the RFL were rebuffed.
The RFL has always wanted to buy an NFL team, but such a purchase is strictly illegal. When the commissioner of the RFL, Vlutamir Padin, found out that his old friend Ronald had a chance at landing the Orangemen, Mr. Padin put his shirt back on, dismounted his horse, and made a few phone calls. Using his considerable albeit untraceable wealth, Mr. Padin launched a campaign in the United States to sway public opinion toward selling a team to Mr. Chump.
Padin even sent emissaries to the US to land meetings with Mr. Chump’s surrogates, promising damning information on Chump’s number one competitor for purchasing the Orangemen. If the Russians can’t buy an NFL team, maybe they can pave an unscrupulous American’s way to buying a team. It’s the next best thing.
When Mr. Chump actually landed the deal, he denied all knowledge of Mr. Padin’s involvement. He insisted it was a hoax. For some reason, he insisted a former rival was the real criminal.
The accusation had no basis in reality, but that didn’t matter to Chump or his followers. The fiercely loyal Orangemen faithful believed every word from Chump’s mouth. They believed his words even when he stopped making sense, like the time he was tweeting and clearly fell asleep on the toilegavsndvkjjjjjjjjjjjjjvfefe.
But back to Chump’s former head coach, Pal Moneyfort. Moneyfort had a long history of walking the fine line between “aggressive play calling” and “cheating.” And while that made him a perfect fit for the Orangemen’s style, it also exposed the entire organization to intense scrutiny.
When the League came after Moneyfort, Chump was the first to distance himself from him. “Barely worked here. I don’t even know the guy. Never heard of him,” said Chump, positioning himself to block reporters’ view of the picture of Chump and Moneyfort grinning ear-to-ear.
Then, Moneyfort’s right-hand man, offensive coordinator Nick Bates was indicted as a co-conspirator.
And then, Chump’s foreign market talent scout, Jorge Papagiorgio, was not only indicted, but pled guilty to lying to investigators. Everyone understood: it was an obvious plea bargain. Papagiorgio was taking a light sentence in exchange for cooperating with the government.
“Barely worked here. I don’t even know the guy. Never heard of him,” said Chump, positioning himself to block reporters’ view of the picture of Chump and Papagiorgio grinning ear-to-ear.
Bandwagon fans of the Orangemen started falling off. They’d started following the team when they were eager for a shakeup and didn’t see any team as exciting as the New York Orangemen.
They’d stuck by the team when star wide receiver Mark “The General” Flymm was booted 23 days into the season for discussing plays with teams in the RFL. They’d proudly worn the Orangemen’s jerseys through the scandal of team doctor Tim Proce using a company plane for personal business 25 times in a few months. They’d ignored daily press conferences where team officials insisted the Orangemen winning more games than anyone had ever seen, when everyone just watched them get demolished repeatedly the entire season.
Something was starting to change, though. As much as die-hard New York Orangemen fans hated every other team, their barely-evident intelligence was starting to be insulted. Their hard earned money, contributed to the Orangemen at every turn, was starting to seem like it was being wasted by a cabal of greedy, irresponsible liars. Hell, most of the fans could clearly remember the Orangemen’s glory days, like 1981-1992, or 2000-2008, when the team was winning game after game.
And as much as Chump decried the entire circus as a conspiracy, it was starting to seem more likely that Chump was the real problem.
In football, fans will turn a blind eye to deflated footballs and illegally videoed opponents’ practices…as long as the team is winning. Allegiances are generational. Bonds to the team are almost subconscious. Fans don’t know why they like that team and hate this team, but they just do. And so did their Pappy. And their Pappy’s pappy.
The fans will listen to the spin from the owner for a while, even if the team is losing. It’s a rebuilding year. We’re plagued by injuries. Terrible officiating. Joe Buck is a biased asshat and forgets he’s broadcasting to a national audience. You know, the usual.
But after a while, the losses, indictments, confessions, shady dealings, obvious lies, and embarrassment will get the best of even the most longsuffering fans.
And when a critical mass of the fans stop coming to the games and stop buying your merchandise, don’t be surprised when the league itself votes to rid itself of your nonsense. There are millions of other deserving would-be owners, Mr. Chump. You’re not invincible.
New York Orangemen, you’re on the clock. Solve your front office issues. Make some moves. Unload the dead weight, and pick up some better talent. Think about making some changes at the top of the organization.
Do all of that, or watch your team get disbanded and fade from our collective memory.