Listen, I didn’t expect to have to deal with this, but it’s got to be done. As you may imagine, some adult themes will be addressed moving forward.
No, the All Naked Arena League (ANAL) does not exist. Neither does the All Naked Indoor League (ANIL).
There’s also no guy named Wayne Kerr (wanker) and his girlfriend starting it up. The website anilfootball.com doesn’t exist. Sandy Springs, Georgia is a real place, but a 500-person venue in a warehouse most likely doesn’t exist. That said, it does sound like a perfect place for a dogfighting ring and Michael Vick lived pretty close to Sandy Springs.
What it is, however, is a common joke put up during the chats of YouTube broadcasts. Sometimes it’s ANIL if it’s an IFL game and ANAL if it’s NAL. The chat goes down the same way every time though:
“Did you hear about the league where everyone plays naked?”
“Yeah the ANIL/ANAL!”
[insert a ton of jokes about tight ends vs wide receivers, the importance of ball handling and/or blitzing the A gap here]
Crude humor for sure, but it’s a live broadcast of YouTube. Not the highest bar of intellectual discussion to begin with.
Until one game I was watching, maybe Arizona and Tucson, the writer of this recent article didn’t get the joke. He began asking serious questions about it. People legitimately tried to tell him that it was not true.
This writer is a very high on the totem pole guy for a competing publication and has a reputation for believing everything that he is told. I’m not going to name him or the group, but his last article was with Joe McClendon about the National Gridiron League still chugging along on schedule, so you know he’d believe everything put in front of him.
In an attempt to not make this so heavy, here’s a visual comparison:
While satire and parody are protected speech and unquestionably something needed in society, it is most effective when you’re in on the joke. Taking advantage of those not in on the joke also occurred when the black female host of the NGL radio show had to deal with racial and sexist harassment from a prank caller. That was also back when we thought the NGL was legit and people listening in were hopeful that a team was coming to a town near them.
So you can all imagine my surprise when I left court today after pretrial motions of a high-profile murder case and see this, literally, fake news come out because someone went out of their way to prank this writer.
I actually am a journalist, writing with a small weekly newspaper in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I got my degree in multimedia journalism, added a copyright law certificate and was working at a local news website. Unfortunately, after my family was threatened and my car vandalized for stories I covered, I decided to take a break. I was working at an aluminum factory when I started covering indoor football and it was my path back to journalism.
The sport as a whole has been a way for old guys to stay relevant after getting into different fields to pay the bills. It’s been a way for younger writers to get their feet wet and get some much needed experience. It’s fairly similar to the players in the sport: whether you need another shot, or never got a fair one, you’re looking for that way to grow into something bigger where maybe you might be able to live your dream and still be able to support a family.
That story to be published was as horrific for journalists of the sport as a Scott Butera brainstorming session was for the AFL. Our blogs and websites do not have the branding to be separated enough for the casual fans, so we all look moronic thanks to the guy who doesn’t understand acronyms. That’s for the people that got it and not for the detractors of the game that think any gimmick will do for these tiny leagues. It’s a damn shame that we all look bad, but especially for those people from that publication that I worked side-by-side with at the NAL Championship and in other ways throughout the season. While I’m not naming the person who did it because others have been cruel enough to them, it also is to cut down on those who might be found guilty by association.
Too many people, whether fans, journalists, gameday staff, owners and more, work their tails off to be disrespected this way. It’s disrespect from the person that didn’t vet basic information and disrespectful to whatever neckbearded troll duped them. Hopefully we can get going on good offseason coverage from this point forward.