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Mississippi man spends 15 hours at Waffle House after finishing last in fantasy football league

For every waffle Lee Sanderlin ate, he shaved an hour off his 24-hour penalty. "Full of waffles but devoid of life," he tweeted.
A Waffle House restaurant on March 29, 2021 in Bessemer, Ala.
A Waffle House restaurant on March 29, 2021 in Bessemer, Ala.Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images file

Fifteen hours, nine waffles and one upset stomach later, a man in Mississippi completed his punishment for finishing last in his fantasy football league.

Thousands on social media joined Lee Sanderlin as he live tweeted his journey fulfilling his penalty, which required him to spend 24 hours at a Waffle House in Brandon, Mississippi. For every waffle he ate, however, an hour was shaved off the clock.

"Quitters never win and winners never quit," Sanderlin tweeted with a photo of him eating his seventh waffle at 11:37 a.m. CT. An hour later, Sanderlin, palpably miserable, tweeted: "Full of waffles but devoid of life."

Sanderlin, a reporter with The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

His punishment kicked off just after 4 p.m.

"I am coming to you live from a Brandon, Mississippi Waffle House. I, a total loser, came in last place in my fantasy football league. As punishment, I spend 24 hours in a Waffle House. Every waffle I eat shaves an hour off the clock," he captioned a photo of an empty Waffle House. "I got some books, some magazines and some podcasts. And two waffles to start."

A little over an hour into the challenge, Sanderlin crammed down two more waffles but noted that he was beginning to experience "immense discomfort."

"Please, somebody, launch me into the sun," he begged as he shared a picture of his nearly empty plate.

Sanderlin tweeted that his league commissioner said he was allowed to sit in the parking lot and, if needed, he could lose his lunch. Instead, he began to gobble down waffle numbers five and six.

"Y’all they’re going down like cement now, and the heart is beating real heavy-like. I’m the only nonemployee in here. Got half of waffle 6 left and so many hours," he wrote.

In another post, he said: "Hello. It is hour 7. Where we stand: 6 waffles consumed. 11 hours remain. Insides are in shambles, but two kind Mississippians came in and gave me some Rolaids. Shoutout those people. Yr boy is in PAIN."

After eating some of waffle number seven, Sanderlin tweeted that he needed a break. He went back to consuming waffles at about 6 a.m. CT.

"Miley Cyrus’ The Climb is playing in this Waffle House and I think it’s time to try and put down those last 2 waffles and go home. This was real. At times it was fun. But, it was never really fun," he wrote.

After downing the last of the waffles, he posted: "The sun is rising, it’s a new day and I’m never eating waffles again. That’s 9 waffles and 15 hours in this restaurant. S/o to the staff for letting me hang out on a slow night (I tipped them well don’t worry). This was horrible and I recommend no one ever do this."

Sanderlin wasn't the first man to attempt the Waffle House challenge — nor was he the first to go viral on Twitter doing it.

Cyrus Wittig, who went viral in January last year, told NBC News on Friday that he was also tasked with fulfilling his punishment after losing in his fantasy football league.

Wittig, 28 at the time of challenge, now 29, did it at a Waffle House in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, about an hour southwest of Little Rock.

"It was really funny," he said of Sanderlin's challenge. "It was sent to me by 20 people this morning. I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't jealous that so many people were saying it was brilliant, he's such a legend, when I did this challenge 18 months ago."

Wittig said when he did it, he assumed that he wasn't allowed to leave the restaurant, so he brought his computer, headphones and chargers with him.

"The only thing that really upset me is that his commissioner of the league let him leave and go sit in the car — and of course every league is different, and maybe mine is crueler — but I didn't leave the Waffle House when I did my challenge," he said jokingly.

Wittig offered some advice to anyone else who is considering doing the challenge.

"I knew the staff and told them what I was doing, and they loved it. And my waitress said we could do six waffles at a time, and I think Sanderlin paced himself a little bit more. I couldn't say what the better strategy is, the only surefire thing is be very nice to the Waffle House staff, or any dining staff members. It's a punishment, but it's only as bad as what you make it," he said.

In response to the viral challenge, Waffle House tweeted a few words of support for Sanderlin: "Sounds like someone WON his fantasy football league, not lost..."

Wittig agreed, adding "punishment" was a misnomer.

"I love Waffle House, and I wouldn't anyone to think that I didn't," Wittig said. "I mean, Anthony Bourdain loved it, it's a 24-hour restaurant everywhere."

"Waffle House is where my heart is. It's home," he said.