Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Nov 2009

Vetoing a trade?

I'm wondering what general FF etiquitte is on vetoing trades, as this is what happened:

I got proposed a trade, which I accepted, where I gave up Benson, Hasselbeck, and Moats in exchange for Rodgers (he has 2 of the 5 top scoring QB's), Turner (this was before Monday night football happened), and Celek (again, he has 2 of the top 5 scoring TE's in the league, and I lost Daniels). The trade is better for me, I admit, but he wanted RB's and didn't want Turner.

In the meantime, I got e-mails from another team wanting to trade for some of those players if the trade went through. Fast forward to today, where the 3-day waiting period is up. My trade gets vetoed, and I get another trade offer from the guy I made the initial trade with, with a joke about how they didn't like our trade. Shortly afterwards, I get a notice that there's been an accepted trade by the team who e-mailed me privately for THE SAME THREE GUYS - Rodgers, Turner, and Celek for Brown, Hightower, and Cadillac Williams.

This seems extraordinarily shady, and this is a money league, so I'm rather upset here and just wondering if I'm off base, or if there's something to raise a fuss with the commissioner about...

Posted by: dash on 05 Nov 2009

4 replies , Last at 06 Nov 2009, 2:00pm by Fontes of Wayne

Re: Vetoing a trade?
by Fontes of Wayne :: Thu, 11/05/2009 - 7:02pm

Everyone has their own ideas on when to veto trades. Personally, I don't vote against a trade unless there's obviously something untoward going on. Then again, I haven't played in a money league in a while.
My take on your experience is this: You had a trade with owner A that you admit was pretty well in your favor. Owner B was already asking you for those players. Once your trade got vetoed, I would pretty much expect owner B to try to get those players directly from owner A, as he already knows owner A is selling them cheap. I know I'd be upset if I was in your situation, but I don't see that either of the other two owners did anything wrong.
Now, what to do about it? I don't think that complaining to the commissioner will be much help - he'll see it as you trying to get the deal overturned so you can try to trade for those same players again. My immediate reaction to this trade is that the new package isn't a whole lot better than what you were giving up, so it might get vetoed again. You could certainly vote against the trade yourself; given that it's a money league, I'd view vetoing as a tactical decision - how much better does it make the teams involved, and where are they in terms of the playoff chase?

Re: Vetoing a trade?
by MC2 :: Thu, 11/05/2009 - 9:51pm

I agree with most of what the first poster said, except that I personally would never veto strictly for tactical reasons, even in a money league. The best analogy that I could make would be to poker, where there's a rule that any player at the table has the right to see any hand that stays in until the end. The rule was put in to help catch cheaters, but obviously, it can also provide the strategic benefit of getting to see a losing hand, and therefore gaining information. However, it's generally considered to be very bad etiquette to ask to see a losing hand, unless you actually suspect collusion. I would apply the same standard to vetoing trades.

Re: Vetoing a trade?
by dash :: Thu, 11/05/2009 - 11:19pm

Fontes - my beef is not with Owner A, as he publicly posted that he thought it was wrong for the trade to be vetoed. My beef is potentially with owner B, who I think may have had a hand in getting my trade vetoed so that he could come in for the same players.

I've always thought trade vetoing was reserved only for times when one team is clearly trying to make the other better without any benefit to themselves - my dad is in a league where someone accepted a trade that was MJD for Patrick Crayton, for example.

Although this is a money league, it's a league of people who work together or are friends with each other (I'm kind of an outsider here, I only know one of them outside of FF). I've been in this league with many of these people for 6 years now, and just feel really burned.

To answer Fontes' last question, Team A is 8th in our league, Team B is 4th (but started really hot), and I just moved into a tie for 1st this week (Go KUBIAK!). I guess I didn't think vetoing a trade as a tactical move was kosher.

Re: Vetoing a trade?
by Fontes of Wayne :: Fri, 11/06/2009 - 2:00pm

To clarify, I don't mean to imply that one should veto a trade simply because it makes a playoff team better. If it makes a playoff team WORSE, you should be more inclined to let it go, so I suppose I am saying that allowing a (otherwise vetoable) trade is a tactical move. But, there are a lot of variables in the veto decision, and I think the fact that there's more on the line than bragging rights is one of those variables.
I think we agree on the major purpose of veto - obvious collusion. Mere lopsidedness isn't always collusion - in one of my leagues last month, a team gave up Julius Jones and Donald Driver for Chester Taylor. This was revoltingly bad, but it went through, mainly because the team getting Taylor had AP, and was absolutely certain he needed to handcuff his top back. In your dad's example, unless the league's scoring system gives a lot of points for return yardage, I can't imagine a reasonable person thinking Patrick Crayton made their team better.
Back to your example: It is possible that B engineered a veto so he could make his own deal. The fact that he may know a lot of the owners outside the internet (and you don't) could play into that. As an outside observer, it seems unlikely - if B actually convinced owner C to veto a trade, and then traded for the exact same players, I'd think C would be royally pissed. At any rate, I'd be hesitant to bring it up without any evidence - it sounds like you've all played nicely together for some time, and calling Shenanigans can bring down a league pretty quickly. If you vote against this trade, and it goes through, you might (politely) inquire to the league why they thought this trade was better than the previous one. In the end, you may just have to suck this one up, and see if you can make a deal with B.

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