Hakeem Nicks's production has fallen in recent games, partly due to a left knee injury. A reporter asked him whether he was concerned about the drop-off, and he answered in a way that briefly sent the sports analytics world into a fit of eye-rolling and furiously composing Nate-Silver-meme jokes: "Stats is for girls," said Nicks. "It's football, man. The season is going to be up-and-down, man. It's about how you ride the wave and if you let it affect you. I know I'm a great football player, and we're ready to make this run after the bye week."
Gasp. Was Nicks suggesting, as so many have in the recent past, that stats are merely the domain of unmanly pencil-pushers? Was he even going so far as to say that an interest in stats is inherently effeminate, or that being good at compiling or analyzing stats is diametrically opposed to being a football player? No, it turns out he was saying something that's kind of the opposite, except insofar as it's also sort of insane: Nicks was saying that stats are for picking up girls. You can, like, quote your stats to girls and they'll be impressed. Not that we've ever had many stats to quote, but, really?
Because the assumption there would have to be that you're dealing with a girl who isn't enough of a fan to already know, roughly, what Nicks's stats look like and where they place him in the hierarchy of Giants wide receivers, or the hierarchy of all receivers. If you're quoting your stats to a girl, you have to assume that the girl doesn't already know who you are or how good you are. And if a girl isn't enough of a fan to know your name or reputation, what the hell are your stats going to mean to her?
Probably nothing, right? That stuff gets pretty arcane pretty quickly. "I have a good percentage of catches on plays where I'm targeted, had an unsually high Yds/reception my rookie year, and an approximate value rating that has placed me as high as eighth at my position in the league, though the methodology of that stat means that it doesn't necessarily correspond to value as you might normally think of it." Even if he broke it down like, "Hey girl, I caught seven touchdowns last year," what's the difference between saying that, and saying nine, or five touchdowns? I've never tried it—we might, next time we go out—but it seems like Nicks has a safer bet in saying something to the effect of, "I'm a 24-year old millionaire athlete." Try that one, Hakeem.
Nicks may not have been saying something offensive, but he was still totally wrong: Stats are not for impressing girls. They're for avoiding hate mail from your fantasy football owners.
Hakeem Nicks 'Girls' Comment Clarified [CBS Sports]