Controversial Fantasy League Commissioner, Jeff Stark, Steps Down After Embezzlement Charges
As any team owner knows, the world of fantasy football is not for the faint of heart. It requires a person to make cut-throat decisions day in and day out. With every week comes another round of brutal roster changes. Job security is as real as the tooth fairy. Emotion has no place when it comes to making the team better. Even star players will be cut following a season-ending injury.
In a serious league, this cold, deadpan attitude does not discriminate. Player, owner, commissioner; If you fail to perform your duty and prove to be incompetent, your job will quickly come into question. It's a "what have you done for me lately," world. A champion one year could place last the next. Even seasoned vets are susceptible to major break downs. This rings particularly true in the precarious case of Jeffrey Stark.
For those who don't know, the "Show Me Your TD's" fantasy football league was a thing of legend within the Cherry Estates neighborhood. They boasted a 5-year waiting list to even have a chance at joining. Those lucky enough to take part had to prove their worth for years as they rose through the ranks of lesser leagues. The only way to join was by recommendation from a current member.
Jeff Stark, a founding father, played a critical role in the league since its inaugural season in 2002. For years, he was viewed as the right-hand man to then-commissioner, Randy Skewer. Jeff was credited with growing the league from 10 to 12 teams, but is best known for facilitating what's known throughout the league as the "Great Transition;" Moving the league from Yahoo to ESPN.
Prior to the 2017-2018 season, Randy Skewer's untimely newborn forced him to step down as commissioner and leave the league. The owners were disappointed, but still confident that Jeff was the right man to take over the reins. This honeymoon wouldn't last long, though. What was once a league of legend, quickly turned to one struggling to survive.
2017-2018 would be the first season with Jeff as commissioner. Jeff approached the season looking to make his mark. He felt the league lacked a sense of progress and decided to change the scoring system from standard to half-point PPR. The owners fully supported the move and were happy to see the league evolve.
Unfortunately, every right decision Jeff made was followed by a lackadaisical mistake. Some of these included enabling a 4-day trade-clearance policy as well as forgetting to change the playoff schedule, leaving it on weeks 16 and 17. Season 1 was by no means a disaster, but the pressure was mounting. He hadn't performed in the office nor the field, finishing with a 3-12 regular-season record.
Two distraught owners decided to move on from the league citing, "Irreconcilable Differences," based upon the fact that, "Jeff's a fucking idiot." Jeff was now faced with finding two new team owners to join the prestigious league. Rather than pick from the respected waiting list, Jeff made the controversial decision to allow both his girlfriend, and brother-in-law to join the league. This decision proved to be the beginning of the end.
Jeff's 2018-2019 season once again started 0-6 as well as a nasty breakup with his girlfriend. The breakup went unbeknownst to the league, allowing Jeff to take control of her team. Suspicion of the breakup grew after Jeff shipped Patrick Mahomes to his team for Doug Martin and Matt Prater. He surpassed his 4-day delay, and quickly pushed the trade through before a vote could be conducted. The criticism only got louder after his brother-in-law stopped editing his lineup after week 2, claiming that he'd forgotten his ESPN sign-in.
By this point, Jeff was no longer the league savior the people had hoped for. He began to lose the support of the owners. According to an anonymous team owner, Jeff had completely let the power get to his head. He knew he was on the hot seat, and he showed it.
Significant criticism followed in the league's group chat. It became filled with images of Jeff's face photoshopped on Hitler's body. His response, as one owner put it, was to go, "full Nazi."
Jeff began to remove rebellious owners from the group chat in hopes of controlling the narrative. He kicked one of the original league members, Dan, following an embarrassing loss after months of trash talk. Jeff claims the reasoning behind the drastic action was due to Dan's continued abuse of dogs. This is something Dan vehemently denies stating, "I don't even own a dog." Jeff even went as far as writing weekly propaganda blog posts on the state of the league in favor of his rule.
When the 2018 season finally came to an end, Jeff announced that the league had run its first-ever deficit after his brother-in-law and now ex-girlfriend defaulted on league dues. This left the owners suspicious, and the winner $300 short.
By the start of the 2019 season, the once famed, "Show Me Your TD's" Fantasy Football League was a shell of its former self. Jeff's mental health was clearly suffering. He fully believed his lack of wins was due to lousy locker room chemistry. He criticized a fellow team owner after he denied his trade offer of Joe Mixon and Demaryius Thomas for Ezekiel Elliot and Julio Jones. The league had had enough; Jeff was forced to resign as commissioner. In a fit of rage, he admitted to embezzling the $300 of league funds from the year before. With that, Jeff's tyranny was finally at an end.
As for Show Me Your TD's, the owners have agreed to collectively run Mr. Stark's debacle of a team for the remainder of the season. The interim commissioner position will be held by the fantasy football vet, Jon Dean.
With the league in such disarray, there's no saying for sure what will become of Show Me Your TD's. Now that Jeff is out, many members are optimistic about the future. News has even leaked that Randy Skewer and his wife are in ongoing negotiations that'll allow him to make his return as league commissioner.
I reached out to Jeff for comment on the story and received the following message from his "agent."
"After losing everything, Jeff looks to take some time to settle his life. Jeff's actions do not define the person he truly is. He's the first to admit that things didn't go as planned. With that, Jeff look's forward to rebuilding his brand and one day making a return to Fantasy Football. Until then, Jeff's only request is that Cherry Estates respect his privacy as he plans what's next."
We wish you the best, Jeff.