Our newest episode starts off with answers to a few mailbag questions and then pivots into a discussion of the Ray Rice situation. Later on, we talk about something called “the red barn analogy,” and we finish up with our views on the trustworthiness of Pro Football Focus’s individual player ratings. You can listen to it using the above audio player.
I’m new to the podcasting game, and I’ve found so far while listening to the finished product that there are ideas I either fail to explore in detail or forget to convey altogether, simply because I’m speaking extemporaneously and the conversation went down a different fork in the road. So, rather than give a detailed outline of the episode like I did last week, I’m instead going to use this space — both now and in the future — to provide a postscript.
Much of what I didn’t say in the podcast — and much of the motivations for what I did say — is summed up in a Deadspin article that came out the day after we recorded. It’s by Diana Moskovitz and titled, “The Only Thing Unusual About Ray And Janay Rice Is That Anyone Noticed.” If you haven’t already, please go read it.
In my life, I’ve had (at least) three girlfriends who were victims of domestic violence in a previous relationship. Their experiences (that I know about) included broken bones, attempted murder, kidnapping, and more. Reading that sentence, you might ask, “Why didn’t they go to the police? And why the hell did they stay with these guys?” These are logical questions, but what one has to understand, and what I was trying to emphasize on the podcast, is that victims of abuse don’t think logically in the midst of an abusive relationship, almost entirely due to psychological manipulation by their abuser.
One reason logic gets thrown out the window is that — at least in my experience — abusers tend to present themselves as wolves in sheep’s clothing. At bottom, they’re predatory con artists. Step 1: Identify a vulnerable girl; Step 2: Romance her like she’s never been romanced before; Step 3: Convince her you’re the only one who will ever love her like this; Step 4: Beat the shit out of her. Neuropsychologically, love is crack cocaine, and we’re all aware of the irrational lengths to which a junkie will go to get their fix.
So, after finding yourself madly in love, now imagine yourself in a situation where the object of this love says, “If you leave me, I’m going to kill your family” or “If you leave me, I’m going to kill myself.” The lives of your loved ones depend on you staying with this person! Imagine making a playfully insulting joke that you’ve made a hundred times before, but this time you get a beating for it. And afterwards, you’re told “that was pretty fucked up of you to say.” Thanks to love, you believe it! These are just two examples of how, after the predator catches his prey, manipulation comes in the form of “It’s your fault something bad happened.” Guilt is the Swiss Army knife ® of an abuser’s toolbox.
When we understand how victims of domestic violence think — whether through personally experiencing it, watching someone else experience it, or simply taking a moment to put yourself in someone else’s brain — the Ray Rice situation becomes much clearer, as Moskovitz eloquently detailed in her Deadspin article. Janay Rice says this was a one-off thing that won’t happen again. Janay Rice says this was her fault. Janay Rice fucking marries Ray Rice. (Wish there was more than underlined, bold italics I can use here.) As I tried to make clear in the podcast, I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors in that relationship, but goddamn if this doesn’t look and sound like the same thing that led me do get a frantic call at 2 a.m. one night from an ex-girlfriend, whispering, “Danny, I need help. I’m scared. He took my car keys, drove me to the middle of nowhere, and won’t take me home.”
The Red Barn
Because of the going-down-the-rabbit-hole nature of a “two dudes talking” podcast, this segment sounds like it devolved into Rivers and I bitching about commenters. To redeem myself, here’s a non-comments example of the red barn: Is (insert name here) an elite quarterback? Really, how does public discourse about the eliteness of a quarterback matter in the final analysis? Whether or not Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, Tony Romo, etc., are elite quarterbacks has no bearing on anything of substance; they will perform well or poorly regardless. It’s simply an argument in which we can all participate because anyone can visualize what an “elite” quarterback looks like — just like anyone can visualize what a red barn looks like. Now, start an argument about things that really matter when it comes to quarterback performance (i.e., how well he reads defenses, goes through his progressions, uses sound throwing mechanics, etc.), crickets.
Pro Football Focus
This segment got cut down because, during our (very limited) preparation, Rivers and I agreed that many of my points were going to be broadcast from the ivory tower. On this site, that’s in the wheelhouse; on our podcast, not so much. Lack of transparency and rounding to tenths of grading points are important issues that PFF needs to address, but the larger issue involves them — and other analytics sites — making more of an effort to prove to us that their stats are trustworthy. Stay tuned to Intentional Rounding for a few-thousand words of evidence that would have been a cure for insomnia if I detailed them on the podcast.