« Is it more like Kafka or 1984? | Main | The war on the Taliban, al Qaeda, ISIS/L, the Khorasan Group, etc. etc. etc. »

September 17, 2014

Comments

screw the NFL.

i grow weary of the assumption that professional athletes should be looked to for anything except entertainment.

It always comes out somewhere.

Not to derail, but I think this is a lesson that needs to be learned in our foreign policy.

On the societal note, I don't think its just violence. Violence is just one of many ways you can strip someone of power and subjugate their will to yours.

I think part of the danger is not just that violence into the systems leads to violence out (although I'd agree that it does), but that exploiting a power disparity (for example, physical power in violence) gives lie to the concept of equality.

If people are taught that right and privilege derive from a power disparity, they learn their rights and privilege come from exploiting what power they have over others. Rights and privilege are no longer innate, and equality disappears.

The persecuted often don't learn the the importance of equality. They learn the importance and legitimacy of being the persecutor.

I don't think that's absolute, however. People can learn what was done to them was wrong, and deal with the injustice that was done to them without propagating it further, as Deacon Jones demonstrates.

When our kids were toddlers, we would pop a hand or swat a fanny when repeated "no's" didn't sink in and being sent to their room or other interim punishment either wasn't working or wasn't available due to circumstances. Our kids were pretty easy to raise, compared, for example, to me. My son got one spanking at age five and my daughter, using language and displaying an attitude at age 14 that no parent could condone, got slapped (by me) fairly sharpish. Thus, one non-toddler example of corporal punishment per kid.

I have no issue with a spanking. I got them and deserved them. They were rare and reserved for clear and gross violations of rules. I've seen kids who were not disciplined and that wasn't pretty either.

But, let me clearly distinguish between a spanking--which should hurt enough that the child wants to avoid a repeat but not more than that--and whipping anyone and laying open skin, or bruising, or striking someone anywhere where injury beyond short term discomfort can be felt.

Our policy was that if the child hit you, the parent, you *might* choose to hit them back, provided a) it was nearly instantaneous, b) it was calibrated to hurt no more than they had hurt you, c) it was only a single hit. Basically, as a lesson in Newton's Third Law.

This occurred only rarely.

Our usual disciplinary treatment was the time-out method. Time-out is not, strictly speaking, a *punishment* -- it's not "go to the corner and think about what you've done". It's just, "go to the corner for a time out session".

We spanked Sprog the Elder once, when she said "I don't want to go to time-out!", we said "would you rather be spanked?" and she said "yes". She decided she'd stick to time-out after that.*g*

With Sprog the Younger, she sometimes assigned *herself* time-out, when she was feeling anxious or angry. I have seen this in some other pre-schoolers, as well -- they experience time-out not as a punishment, but as a way of managing their own feelings. In other words, it develops true self-control, based on recognizing what you're feeling and using strategies to deal with it.

I think the "authoritarian" vs. "permissive" dichotomy that e.g. Brittney Cooper talks about is a false one, especially when it assumes violence is a necessary part of asserting authority.

The real question is, is your discipline attentive and *consistent*? To be honest, the most important lessons I got about disciplining children were from dog obedience classes. The methods I learned to control an Akita were pretty much the same ones needed to control a young child: no hitting or violence, resolute consistency, and do not reinforce the behavior you are trying to extinguish. We recommend them to all prospective parents.

I'm with McKinney on this one. There are times when a kid just won't listen to "No!" At that point, a couple of swats on the butt (with an open palm) get the message across just fine. It doesn't even need to happen often; just enough to make the point that No means no.

That said, hitting a kid with something, even a "switch" or a belt, is excessive in my mind. Anything which leaves bruises (let alone welts or open sores!) is excessive.

And I have to say that it appears that Peterson is still in serious need of something to make the point that No means no -- even if you are an NFL player making millions. Probably too late to make the point with a mere spanking. (And clearly the beatings he got at a kid were not effective. A case of too much punishment being as useless as too little.)

I would agree too. It has to be exceptional (not SOP) and be within strict limits, if used at all. Fortunately, I have no kids and see it as unlikely that I will ever have any (my personality being a highly effective contraceptive/repellant). I have serious doubts that I would have the necessary consistency and self-discipline. I would always vacillate between giving the demon brats a 360° turn of the neck at least once a day and avoiding all bodily contact in fear of causing damage with the slightest touch.

wj and McTX, the trouble with a swat or slap when the kid just won't listen to "No" is that it doesn't scale.

That is, there will come a time, especially if the child is male and the parent is female, when the child may well be larger & stronger than you. When that happens, you MUST have other habits and skills for discipline already formed, or the situation could get very dangerous for everybody.

McTX recalls slapping his 14-y.o. daughter for extreme language and "attitude". He could do this, because the chances are he was larger & stronger than her at the time.

It's not unusual, however, for a mother to be smaller and weaker than her 14-y.o. son. If she hits him first for *any* reason, she risks Newton's Third Law, Violence Edition -- and that's a *really* big risk.

It's like training an Akita. The Akita is stronger than you, so you have to make sure conflicts are *never* solved by strength.

I think the "authoritarian" vs. "permissive" dichotomy that e.g. Brittney Cooper talks about is a false one, especially when it assumes violence is a necessary part of asserting authority.

I'm not sure if 'false' (as contrasted with 'true' or 'correct') really gets us closer to any understanding. While I don't want to turn this into another thread about race, Cooper's point about white privilege rings true to me. A similar point is made about the Japanese American internment, with lots of the parents lamenting that because they were forced into communal living arrangments with no privacy, they couldn't discipline their children in front of people who were outside their family. Saying things don't scale implies that African-Americans have the same set of tools to discipline their children that everyone else has. The time-out only works if you have a parent who is able to assume a full-time caretaker role to the exclusion of everything else. This isn't to suggest that I have the answers, but I don't think you can decontextualize how a group disciplines their children from the environment they find themselves in.

I found these two clips, of Chris Carter and then of Ray Lewis discussing this, fascinating. This isn't to say that I agree with all the points (Ray Lewis' invocations of how players need to be thankful to an organization that in many ways exploits them seems particularly ironic), but it was striking to see something that might look more appropriate on Sunday church broadcasts on ESPN.

Dr. S,
The idea, at least in my mind, is to establish early on that a verbal No means just that. At which point, there is no need to scale -- long before the kid is nearly the size of his parent, the point has been imbedded/internalized.

I would suggest, too, that the point is not really to cause pain in order to reinforce the message. (Which is why anything more than an open palm, and anything more than once or twice, is unnecessary.) The point is maybe best described as embarrassment. The kid just had something happen which is both unusual and undignified. The fact that it is unusual reinforces the message that "You are seriously out of bounds here." As for the undignified part, . . . .

To be cynical, there is a bit of a cost-benefit-analysis on both parts. The 'trick' of successful education could be seen as the parent influencing it ahead of time on the children's side, so parental disapproval would rate high on the cost side of the ledger, ideally higher than the threat of violence. Parents should also notice that there are situations where the kid has priced in the consequences already and still considers the benefits of the transgression to be higher than the expected costs*. In those cases the punishment misses the real problem. The ideal solution will not be to turn it up to eleven (except in extreme cases**) but to look for the root cause.

*as an unrelated analogy: I like certain foodstuffs that my body does not. Still, occasionally I can't resist the temptation and will consume them in full knowledge that I will have to deal with the consequences (acid reflux, the shits, irritated throat or sinuses etc.).
**i.e. not hand-in-the-cookie-jar but e.g. mistreating animals for fun, playing with fire in a (known) highly flammable environment or lying with the intent to cause serious harm

Four-year olds, dude.

wj: "undignified" applies to adults, most teens, some bigger kids, very few small kids.

The swat on the butt is mostly just to focus their attention.

LJ:

I don't know that I'd agree with this:

Saying things don't scale implies that African-Americans have the same set of tools to discipline their children that everyone else has. The time-out only works if you have a parent who is able to assume a full-time caretaker role to the exclusion of everything else.

Both of my parents worked when I was a child, and time-out or 'grounding' was still the preferred method of discipline. Obviously, we could only be punished when one of our parents were home...but I fail to see how a non-present parent can spank, either. Or maybe I missed your point. If so, I apologize.

I don't think of it so much as "white privilege" as everybody is an expert on rearing children. Even I, as a non-parent, have been shocked at how willing people are to give unwelcome advice and instruction to parents.

On spanking, the research literature seems mixed. Sometimes it correlates weakly with negative outcomes, sometimes it doesn't. As a general rule, I'm loathe to intervene (either personally or through governmental means) in child rearing without clear and convincing data. I personally have my doubts that its more effective than other methods...but I'm not a parent and have little experience raising children.

Maybe there is a cultural or religious component to spanking. I can't say I care. Not because its not an interesting question, but I don't care in the sense that culture is rarely a good proxy for what individuals do and why. Especially in the US, where so many cultural influences can be at play, I'm really loathe to simplify individual actions or statistical groupings to X or Y culture.

I think your original point (if I got that right), that being in a violent environment encourages violence, is correct. We are communal creatures, and we learn our behavior from those around us, and adjust to fit in better.

Now, there is a lot of recent talk about why African-Americans are more likely to use corporal punishment. To some degree, I think its somewhat of a false question. There was a recent study showing:

found that 89% of black parents, 79% of white parents, 80% of Hispanic parents and 73% of Asian parents said they have spanked their children.

http://inamerica.blogs.cnn.com/2011/11/10/researchers-african-americans-most-likely-to-use-physical-punishment/

I mean, we're talking about a spread of 73-89% across all ethnic groups, and 79-89 between whites and blacks. These are not numbers that leave me aghast at the racial disparity. If stop and frisk statistics, sentencing statistics, or economic statistics looked that good I'd be pretty pleased (but not entirely).

Snarki, the attention focusing is certainly an important feature. But you might be amazed at how young the "dignity" feature kicks in.

On spanking, the research literature seems mixed. Sometimes it correlates weakly with negative outcomes, sometimes it doesn't.

thompson, I wonder how much of that is due to sloppy terminology. Some people (me included) hear spanking and think of nothing more than a swat on the butt. Other people hear the term and include everything up to beatings with a belt or tree branch.

And then there is the difference in effect between a punishment that is applied only on rare occasions, and one that is applied weekly or even daily. IMHO, if you spank your kid maybe a couple of times a year, it has a big effect. But if you do it every day or two, it just becomes a part of everyday life -- unpleasant, but not something that you amend your behavior to avoid, because it doesn't seem avoidable.

I wonder how much of that is due to sloppy terminology

I think terminology is a problem for a lot of social science research. Again, not a disparagement of the scientists, just a recognition of the inherent difficulties in their field.

I think they tend to be very careful to define terms like that when performing studies. But careful definitions that are ignored by the participants only get you so far.

Amen, LJ. I think you hit it on the head (pun not intended).

Obviously, we could only be punished when one of our parents were home...but I fail to see how a non-present parent can spank, either. Or maybe I missed your point.

Hey Thompson, sorry, I've been away from the computer. Let me try and give a longer explanation.

First of all, I don't have a good idea about the differences between Whites and African-Americans. I do think this article is quite good, and given my own experience, I feel like this is a South/non-South issue, that, as Bouie suggests, becomes identified as a black pathology. I also think that any kind of survey instrument on this is going to suffer because it is self-reporting and the people interviewed are going to respond with what they think the interviewer wants to hear. To take that a step further, I don't think I ever said 'gee, my dad has never spanked me.' when we were talking about getting whipped. I don't think I lied and said I was, but you can imagine how the conversation would go.

Also with paddling (which I mentioned was relatively common in my town in Southern Mississippi at jhs and high school), there were boundaries. I remember one teacher who was known for giving five strokes, and the last one would be on the back of the thighs rather than on the butt and this was recognized by everyone as being over the line, but in a situation like that, who would take the step of holding this teacher to account? I mentioned my own experience, and if you can imagine being with a bunch of guys, the one-upmanship a la the 4 Yorkmanshire men is rife, but it cements the notion that it is somehow appropriate to spank your kids.

To give a concrete example, there is not a lot of corporal punishment among parents in Japan (there is in sports clubs and such, which I will get to later), but when I talk with other foreign spouses, uniformly, all of us are frustrated to a certain extent with the way our wives deal with our children's education. They don't hit them, but the problem is there is this constant, for lack of a better term, nagging. We all (and I do mean all) are quite baffled that the woman we married, who was so adventurous and fun-loving, would turn into a person who is basically a kyouiku mama and though it is generally pejorative, the dividing line between kyouiku mama and a mother concerned with their children's education is rather blurry.

At any rate, here we are, outsiders, trying to convince our spouses to give kids some space, to not constantly nag about homework and worry about them internalizing this. As the article I linked to by Belinda Cooper points out,

What I know for sure is that yelling, running away or slamming anything in the house that my single mama worked hard to pay for would be grounds for some serious disciplinary reprisal. Even now, when I think about what kind of behavior I would permit as a parent, I am clear that slamming doors in my home is unacceptable.

Still, I also know that my anger was not an emotion that found a free and healthy range of expression in my household. My mother is my own personal hero, but just as she did many things differently than her own mother did when it came to raising daughters, I know I will think very intentionally about making space for my children to experience a full range of emotions – anger included — in the safety of home. They can’t slam the door, but they can close it.

Higher trigger for unacceptable behavior probably means a lower tolerance for the belt or whatever may be handy. These are parents who are both in the culture, not one who is an outsider, so it must be even more difficult to reimagine how discipline and punishment work. While it is theoretically possible to have everyone agree to replace the belt or whatever with a time-out, failing to acknowledge that the kind of punishment exists in a web of context makes it sound like the clueless person wondering why urban poor don't eat more healthy food.

This article from the Guardian has this:

Or you find yourself anticipating holding your infant son in your hands and daydreaming about teaching him to walk and run and ride a bike and throw a ball and memorize his multiplication tables and plot the constellations, and then your vision grows ineluctably dark. And you think of the teenage years, of defiance for defiance’s sake, of assertive mockery and the contempt of selective deafness, of constant jockeying for power in a relationship suddenly destabilized – of this fathers-and-sons thing that stretches back 152 years to Turgenev and a further 2,500 years to Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy. And you wonder if you will ever reach that point of pure frustration with your child that you saw on a parent’s face – the one that transformed almost with pleasure at the moment that you crossed the line that let him hit you, that gave him that moment of something almost like relief at being able to end the negotiations and finally just slap the defiance out of your stupid fucking mouth.

The writer gets halfway there, acknowledging that in some sense, the goal can be to push the parent so far as to make them mad with frustration and take the first shot. But it doesn't go all the way in acknowledging that the "defiance for defiance’s sake, of assertive mockery and the contempt of selective deafness, of constant jockeying for power in a relationship suddenly destabilized" goes a long way in keeping this alive, and it as much the responsibility of the teenager as the parent. I realize that the Petersen case is with a 4 year old, but to ask the question if there is some age when I can take a whack kind of misses the point.

I mentioned that sports clubs in Japan have a problem with coaches hitting, and as you might expect, martial arts clubs are particularly problematic (either judo or kendo are required in both junior and senior high school). However, for those who would think that one should never ever hit a student, this story from Katsuhiko Kashiwazaki, who the World Champion in 75 and 81 in Judo may give a different perspective.

I have many memories of Kubo sensei, but the most vivid is of how seven of us travelled with him to Tokyo one day, when I was thirteen years old, spending a lot of time and money to go to the Kodokan (the national judo headquarters)... The following day (back in Iwate) three of us arrived late for practice without any real excuse. Sensei was very sad. He said he had failed as a teacher because he hand not even been able to teach us a small thing like punctuality. He was crying and one by one, grabbing us by the wrists, he forced us to slap his face. He said he was bad, but that we also were bad, and hit each of us in turn, only once. The only time. This made a profound impression on me, although I did not fully grasp its significance at the time, though since becoming a teacher I have grown to understand it more and more.

As a teacher, I've never hit a student, nor have I ever instituted any kind of physical punishment, and I don't want to. But I think even thinking about Petersen is tricky. The punishment of his child came when he saw his son shove another child off of his bike. Perhaps I'm admitting to darker impulses, but I can imagine the lump in the throat, the rising anger, the loss of control if I saw that. I imagine running up and saying 'why did you do that?' and the child, _my_ child making some reply like 'cause I wanted to' or something to assert his (or her?) independence and everything going red. I can imagine that one's sensibility might be further changed if your job was running into 300+ pound linement and being encouraged to knock them over, a person who, when asked to describe his running style, gave the answer 'vicious'.

I'm not trying to give Peterson or anyone else a pass. But I don't think that what happened is the same as Ray Rice knocking out his fiancée, something that has bizarrely disappeared, which I find strange.

LJ:

Thanks for the response, no worries on the timing.

I do think this article is quite good

I'd agree with that article, and that's the point I was trying to convey...I don't think it makes sense to talk about it as a black issue or what have you, and that is one of my major problems with the current public debate. The fact that Peterson is black is somehow relevant...and either exculpatory or damning, depending on who's talking. It's ridiculous for one, and based on really narrow statistical divides for two.

The Bouie article makes that clear...breaking this down along racial lines is not supported by the data, and especially not the data once you start isolating confounding variables.

And its one of the features that I found lacking in Cooper's analysis. She asserts differences, but doesn't back them with data. Much of what she attributes to 'black' or 'white' comes from her own upbringing, her own experiences. While not invalid, it is hardly a complete argument.

And when that argument is extended to corporal punishment, where the data really doesn't support a racial disparity, I become very unconvinced.

My primary objection wasn't to larger picture in the Cooper article, however. It was to your statement that the corporal/non-corporal punishment choice is influenced by having a stay-at-home parent. I don't think that really makes much sense.

failing to acknowledge that the kind of punishment exists in a web of context makes it sound like the clueless person wondering why urban poor don't eat more healthy food.

Yes, context is important. Knowing why people do things is important. But race is a very poor substitute for context. That was the point I wanted to make in my last post.

You expand on context, both generally and in the Peterson case so thoroughly I'm loathe to quote you because it wouldn't be sufficient. I'm really not in a position to talk about many of the power dynamics between parent and child, honestly, although I appreciate your insight. I've only experienced it from one side.

Context is also why I'm hesitant to weigh in on the Peterson case. I don't like judging people I don't know, and it's especially useless to judge people based on media stories with limited information. Without seeing all the evidence and understanding the context...whatever my judgment would be it would ultimately be going along with one crowd or another. Mob in/justice.

A final note on context:

I can imagine that one's sensibility might be further changed if your job was running into 300+ pound linement and being encouraged to knock them over

I could imagine that too. But just because it makes intuitive sense doesn't mean it is correct.

And as a final aside:

But I don't think that what happened is the same as Ray Rice knocking out his fiancée, something that has bizarrely disappeared, which I find strange.

I listen to NPR on my way to work everyday...Rice is typically mentioned. Often in conjunction with Peterson, but mentioned. CSM had an article about the Goodell conference that dealt heavily with Rice yesterday. I don't think the story as disappeared.

Good points thompson. This may just boil down to personal preference, but I tend to give anecdotal data more weight when it comes from African-Americans or other minorities. My reasoning (only thinking this through after your comments) is that I'm not sure that social science really does as good a job discerning these things when they are coming in as outsiders as well as the need to take what minorities say seriously. The example that Bouie gives, of attributing Prop 8 victory to the homophobia of African-Americans gives a good counterpoint. Very rarely were there any pieces by AA commentators about the problems with homosexuality. On the other hand, a large number of AA commentators have discussed, like Cooper, how they feel that they must control their children to a much greater degree.

Of course, this may just be a symptom of how racially divided the US is. I don't want to make it all seem that it is about race, but this WaPo piece points out the disparity in who knows who. Being here in Japan has the effect of making my view only a tiny peephole, so things like this have me more willing to accept anecdotal data for AA. The alternative is to claim that I am just treating all evidence equally, which, given experience, can't be the case. Or as the article says
The implication of these findings is that when we talk about race in our personal lives, we are by and large discussing it with people who look like us.

you also wrote

The fact that Peterson is black is somehow relevant...and either exculpatory or damning, depending on who's talking. It's ridiculous for one, and based on really narrow statistical divides for two.

I think that is very true, but I feel, at least in my mind, that there are a number of factors rather than just being black. Southern background? Yes. Lower class background? Yes. Multiple challenges in his childhood? Yes. A rags to riches story? Definitely.

I'd note that all this has me wondering how many football players come from this kind of background and how that must create a certain dynamic. I've not followed football for a number of years, but I think you rarely if ever hear of a star AA football player coming from a comfortable middle class background. (White Quarterbacks are a different story) Instead, stories like that of Michael Irvin are the ones that seem to be the norm.

All of this pains me quite a bit. I've written, either here or at hocb about the team of my childhood, the Washington Redskins, a team with its own publicity problems. While the NBA notably overcame a terrible reputation to become something kids not only in the US but all over the world aspire to be a part of, I find it difficult to understand how the NFL can, without changing its very nature, recover.

LJ, I would say that the NFL faces the same choice as the NHL: sell displays of skill or sell displays of violence.

The NHL obviously made its decision some time ago. Long gone are the days when the first thing that happened in a hockey fight was the everybody, without exception, dropped their sticks -- so nobody would get seriously hurt. The NFL shows signs that it would like to go the same way. It remains to be seen how they will finally come down.

but I tend to give anecdotal data more weight when it comes from African-Americans or other minorities. My reasoning (only thinking this through after your comments) is that I'm not sure that social science really does as good a job discerning these things when they are coming in as outsiders as well as the need to take what minorities say seriously.

I actually agree. Both with the difficulty social science has in getting good data in this regard, and increased weight to anecdote from minorities. If for no other reason than its perspective I don't have, so well worth considering.

I suppose the confounding factor is my experiences and anecdote, which certainly aren't more valid...but when I was growing up I remember hushed conversations among white adults basically arguing the opposite: blacks are less restrictive, less disciplinary, etc, with their children. As a child, that struck me as wrong, and I still think its wrong today.

I riffed on this upthread, but I think parenting really is one of those things that everybody knows best, everyone else is wrong, and they should listen to me when I explain what their problems are. That that manifests as broad generalizations about racial groups doesn't surprise me.

I could be wrong, of course, my anecdote and experience isn't any more bulletproof than anybody else's...but that's why I desire data to support such sweeping statements. Also feeding into this is my general disdain for classifying people on empty metrics like race. Even if there is a statistical trend, it rarely rises to a level where I think race is a useful factor to consider in any individual instance: for example, Peterson.

I think that is very true, but I feel, at least in my mind, that there are a number of factors rather than just being black.

Yeah, and I feel bad I keep hammering on the race aspect of your comments...not representative of the totality. I think some of the other factors may be more relevant, and arguably more central to your point.

So, I spent a lot of time trying to dig up stats on NFL socioeconomic background and couldn't find any. I did find, while I was searching, that NFL players tend to be less criminal than the general populace:

http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/the-rate-of-domestic-violence-arrests-among-nfl-players/

https://stat.duke.edu/~dalene/chance/chanceweb/123.nflviol.pdf

Lot's of things there in those reports, but I think it provides a counterpoint to the popular conception of NFL stars as violence prone.

Oddly enough, there was an NPR segment on this on the way into work this morning. A researcher cast doubt on the concept of NFL players being more prone to domestic violence. He also discussed research on the Army...basically found that the tip of the spear wasn't much more prone to domestic violence either. The interview doesn't seem to be online yet, but was interesting.

I think the question of what socioeconomic background NFL players come from is an interesting one...but I can't find data. I think rags-to-riches stories grab attention better, so news coverage might not be the best indicator of the NFL population.

I also vaguely remember talk awhile back about Canadian hockey players (I think) coming from increasing wealthy backgrounds, contradicting the popular conception of rags to riches stars in that sport. The reason seemed to be that most players had excessive training as a child: camps, traveling teams, good coaches that were all hallmarks of reasonably well-off suburbs. I'll try to dig that up...I might be wildly misremembering.

I wonder if a similar phenomena could be at play in the NFL. I don't know. Like I said, I can't find data on it.

NPR story:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/09/22/349928619/nfl-looks-to-training-to-prevent-domestic-violence-by-players

It's challenging to measure rates of domestic violence, because most incidents are not reported to the police, or anyone else; but Gelles is not convinced that rates in the NFL are significantly higher than in the general population.

thompson, one other confounding factor on NFL players: there isn't actually one population of NFL players, but several different ones. And I don't mean just different team personalities (although those may occur as well). It takes an entirely different personality to do well as an offensive lineman than as a wide receiver or a defensive back.

Anybody trying to do studies of "how NFL players behave" would do well to at least gather the data (and on a big enough base) to allow them to see if and when that is a factor.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/prishe/2014/09/17/breaking-bad-the-economics-sociology-and-psychology-of-law-breaking-behavior-by-nfl-players/

This makes the opposite assertion...that "academic literature has long pointed to a disproportionate amount of violent criminal behavior in NFL athletes". But doesn't provide sources or data, so I'm less prone to trust it.

wj:

there isn't actually one population of NFL players, but several different ones.

I'd agree that could be a factor and should be taken into account of any sort of analysis of NFL players.

Depending on how fine-grained your approach is, however, it is going to start really trimming your sample size. I mean, there's just not that many long-snappers in league. :)

Mostly my point is to have caution when relying on things 'everybody knows' or are in the news. A lot of times popular perception isn't borne out by reality.

Maybe if you take 25 years of long snappers you get up to a viable population size? ;-)

After all, I wouldn't expect violence rates to change drastically once someone is out of football.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad