The Space Between

“The space between our wicked lies
Is where we hope to keep safe from the pain.” — Dave Matthews

Personal blogs come in handy every now and then. I write for a number of different sites. One of those is called Battle Red Blog. It is a Houston Texans fan site. I don’t get paid for these things, but it keeps me sane. Writing has always come fairly easy for me. I’m not sure why and I wish I could do more with it because it is what I enjoy doing more than anything else in the world.

Normally, I would comment on the Deshaun Watson situation there, but BRB is run by a family of blogs for all of the teams throughout all of the sports. They seem pretty cool about allowing us some leeway in stating our opinion, but even they have their limits. At any rate, I am relatively new over there, so I don’t want to rock the boat.

I was accepted over there because I have a love of analytics. The base word behind analytics is analyze. I love doing that too. I have to do that at my job as we have to take test scores and other performance markers and analyze them so that we can identify where students need the most help. So, whether it’s baseball, politics. football, or student performance it is all the same basic thing.

Analyzing human behavior is more psychology. I got a masters degree in that too. It’s funny how these things melt together. The Deshaun Watson situation is something I have written about more than once. From a clinical point of view, it is fascinating to see how private behavior and public perception collide. However, I suppose I should catch up everyone that may not be following the story.

Apparently, the Houston Texans have officially been included in the civil suits against Watson. According to those reports, they provided him with a private suite at the Houstonian so he could have a spot for his massages. They also provided him with non-disclosure agreements (often called NDAs) to protect his privacy. The lawsuit alleges that they knew about what he was doing and were enabling it. The Texans have denied any prior knowledge and argued that NDAs are used regularly to protect athletes’ privacy generally in any number of situations.

What we know is that Watson contacted at least 66 different women over the course of 17 months. It isn’t clear how many massages he had with these women or how often they turned sexual, but it is fairly clear that many turned sexual. This is of course where things get dicey. His own lawyer asserted that “happy endings” are not illegal if they were not specifically paid for. I’m assuming he would also say that are not illegal if they weren’t acquired through coercion or force.

Sports are entertainment. It’s hard to say where each league has to protect it’s interests like the parent company that runs our Texans blog. Officially, Watson has not been charged with anything. Unofficially, he has been sued by 24 different women and had to sit through two grand jury deliberations. Some of them accused him of criminal assault and while he was not charged, those accusations are sitting out there in the court of public opinion.

In the whirlwind that is cancel culture, public relations, and entertainment comes the unscientific calculation of how valuable someone can be to your organization in comparison to the deficits he brings through bad behavior. Is sex with 66 women in 17 months illegal? He’s an unmarried famous athlete with money, natural charisma, and a substantial appetite for sex. Is that inherently bad or wrong?

I think most fans would say yes. Even if you set aside the nefarious ways in which he met his needs, those fans would still say yes. Add in the fact that it allegedly happened with some coercion and you have yourself an all holy mess. The unfortunate thing in society is that we have unequal justice for these folks. A top five NFL quarterback can do this and still work. Can a second string linebacker get away with that? How about a common everyday lawyer, doctor, construction worker, or teacher? What if you’re flipping burgers at the neighborhood McDonald’s? All those people have different amounts of leeway depending on the perceived value of the skills they bring. It’s all very seedy and it’s all very nebulous. It’s part of the analysis of life where facts are few and conjecture is plenty.

Author: sbarzilla

I have written three books about baseball including The Hall of Fame Index. I also write for thefantatasyfix.com. You can follow me on twitter @sbarzilla.

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