The Dick Pic Effect

04/14/2015 05:26 pm ET | Updated Jun 13, 2015

Let's talk about dick pics. Thanks to John Oliver and Edward Snowden, we all know the National Security Agency could theoretically have an entire server dedicated to dick pics: celebrity dick, heads of state dick, big dicks, little dicks, dicks on dicks on dicks, #moredicksthanduke. We all must acknowledge that in the world we're living in today, an NSA dick farm just may exist. But for everyday people, the main concern isn't that the NSA has your dick pic -- it's what would happen if they were to release it.

2015-04-14-1428991163-8120309-nsa.jpgBeing dickless myself, I've never had to worry about an inadvertent tweet exposing my dimly-lit, perfectly-staged penis. Still, I found myself interested in all the ramifications of having one's junk splashed across the internet. Besides the shame and embarrassment, how would this impact, say, your productivity at work?

It seems the only way to quantify this would be to study people whose jobs are publicly tracked day-to-day, then hope and pray that these individuals have a propensity to send dick pics that have been published for the world to see.

Thank you, athletes!

Professional athletes are the perfect subjects to study the "dick pic effect" -- how the unwelcome release of one's private privates might affect one's day at work. Through box scores and sports databases, we can monitor an athlete's performance before and after a penis photo is published online. Unfortunately, though, this only works if the picture is released during the season. So, thanks but no thanks, Greg Oden, Grady Sizemore, Trey Burke, Metta World Peace, Dwight Howard, Santonio Holmes, Geno Smith, Brandon Spikes, and Martellus Bennett. While it's possible that the release of your dick pics in the offseason affected your game (Greg Oden never played again in the NBA; Sizemore went from being an All-Star to being on the Phillies*), the immediate effect isn't measurable.

But for the rest of the players who were unlucky enough to have their dick pics released in season, thank you for being part of this highly scientific study in which I try to remember all I learned in Stats 101.


Using Deadspin as my source for all athlete dong, I could only find four players whose dick pics were published during their playing season:** MLB pitcher Justin Verlander, NBA star Paul George, NFL quarterback Brett Favre, and MLB third baseman Evan Longoria. Verlander and his girlfriend Kate Upton were both victims of the Fappening on August 31, 2014. Paul George got Catfished into sending out a dick pic to a guy on March 22, 2014. Brett Favre sexted a Jets sideline reporter his dick -- the story and accompanying pics came out a year later on August 7, 2010 when he was playing for the Vikings. And Evan Longoria alledgedly texted an unwanted dick pic to some woman named Jenna on May 25, 2010.

So how did the publication of their dick pics affect the athletes' performance? They all had terrible games, of course! In his first game post-Fappening, Justin Verlander gave up six earned runs in a 7-0 loss to the Indians. The night of his public Catfishing, Paul George scored only 8 points on 2-10 shooting with four turnovers in a loss to the Grizzlies. In Brett Favre's first game after the sexting allegations came out, he sucked worse than he sucked all year in a loss to the Jets (how appropriate), fumbling twice and throwing an interception. And Evan Longoria went 0-3 with a strikeout in a loss to the Red Sox on the day his dick pic leaked.

That's bad, but it's still just anecdotal evidence -- and it doesn't prove a player performed worse than normal. To quantify the dick pic effect, we should track the athlete's performance before and after the picture was released. For that, we need to use an unbiased, game-by-game measurement tool. For Favre, I used the quarterback rating (QBR), which is a fairly common form of measuring how a quarterback did that game. For George, I used Basketball Reference's "GameScore" (GmSc) statistic published in online game logs. For the two baseball players, I used Baseball Reference's Game Score (GSc). I had to calculate GSc myself for Longoria because it didn't show up as a stat in the hitters' game logs. (More info on these statistics below.)

How did players do in the "dick game" (the first game after the dick pic was published)?



Date of Dick Pic Publish

Date of Next Game


Before Dick

Dick Game

Season Avg

Diff% Before Dick

Diff% Season Avg

Justin Verlander









Paul George









Brett Favre









Evan Longoria









(For comparison's sake, the 2014 AL Cy Young winner, Corey Kluber, had an average GSc of 62.6 that season; the 2014 NBA MVP Kevin Durant had an average GmSc of 24.9, the 2010 NFL MVP Tom Brady had a QBR of 77, and the 2010 AL MVP Josh Hamilton had an average GSc of 3.61.)

As you can see, Longoria had the roughest outing, followed by George. This is likely due to the fact that both players had to play just hours after their dick went viral online. Verlander and Favre had a few days to cope with the media attention (and Verlander less so, since his pictures were definitely overshadowed by those of bigger celebrities, including his girlfriend). All the athletes had worse games than average. But, for the most part, there was no lingering impact -- "Before Dick" averages pretty much line up with overall season averages -- meaning that the release of their dick pics didn't make or break their seasons.

You might think it's ridiculous to look at one game versus a season average for these athletes. That is totally correct. Like, what if they were just playing a really good team that night? I looked into that. In three out of the four cases, the players were facing a team with a worse record than their team (on the day of the dick game).



Opponent Record

Team Record

Facing Worse Team

Justin Verlander





Paul George





Brett Favre





Evan Longoria





So, Favre is the only one with a semi-legitimate excuse for being terrible, because the Jets were surprisingly good that year.


It is true that for every player except for George, the bad dick games all fell within the standard deviation of their season average. But nobody cares about boring statistics talk. Let's circle back: what does this mean for common plebes like you and me? Well, let's say you have a big pitch tomorrow to your company's CEO. And suddenly, the NSA decides to release your dick pic online, along with a shirtless mirror selfie of you doing a kissy face to the camera like Paul George. There's a good chance your pitch tomorrow will go 26 to 123 percent worse than it would've gone yesterday, and possibly even three times worse than how you'd normally present pitches all year. Maybe you puke. Maybe you drop a racial slur. Maybe it goes so bad that you get fired, like disgraced NYC politician/sexting-maniac Anthony Weiner. And it's all because of your exposed dick.

Is this a ridiculous extrapolation based on data from a sample size of four? Yes. Is it wildly irresponsible to suggest that this effect is at all statistically significant? Yes. Has this been a terrible waste of hours that could've been better spent trying to save the world of its ills? Yes. Yes to all of that.

But if there's anything I know about America, it's that we can turn unfortunate incidents (appalling invasions of privacy) into teachable moments. So, kids, the lesson in all of this is simple: don't take a picture of your dick. Some way, somehow, that dong shot will come out -- and when it does, your work will suffer for it... at least for a day. That day will suck, like 26 to 123 percent worse than other days. Then you'll get over it and be just fine. But the Internet never forgets, and every now and then you'll be reminded of the infamous moment when your dick came out... just ask Verlander, George, Favre, and Longoria.


* To be fair, Sizemore's "dick pic" wasn't so much a dick pic as it was a picture of a coffee cup in front of his dick. So, it really is a "coffee cup pic".

** Chris Cooley isn't part of this group because it's very likely he released his dick pic himself in September 2008, as a joke, whereas everyone else's dick pic was released inadvertently or without the athlete's knowledge/consent. George Hill isn't included because the exact date of when his dick pic was published in February 2010 is unknown. There is documentation that the pictures were up for several days on before they went viral (the Spurs' lawyer sent a letter dated 2/4/10 about removing the Hill pictures; the pictures only went viral on 2/9/10, possibly because Deadspin brought attention to it then -- in a general post about athlete dong). Either way, it's difficult to discern when exactly the pictures were posted online, and therefore difficult to establish a true "dick game".

Source of Statistics:

Quarterback Rating (QBR) - NFL (From

GameScore (GmSc) - NBA (From
Game Score; the formula is PTS + 0.4 * FG - 0.7 * FGA - 0.4*(FTA - FT) + 0.7 * ORB + 0.3 * DRB + STL + 0.7 * AST + 0.7 * BLK - 0.4 * PF -TOV. Game Score was created by John Hollinger to give a rough measure of a player's productivity for a single game. The scale is similar to that of points scored, (40 is an outstanding performance, 10 is an average performance, etc.).

GameScore (GSc) - MLB (From

Pitching Game Score - This is a value created by Bill James that evaluates how good a pitcher's start was. Start with 50 points. Add 1 point for each out recorded, (or 3 points per inning). Add 2 points for each inning completed after the 4th. Add 1 point for each strikeout. Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed. Subtract 4 points for each earned run allowed. Subtract 2 points for each unearned run allowed. Subtract 1 point for each walk.

Batting Game Score - This is a value also created by Bill James, but not nearly as widely known. I've modified it. My goal is to identify the heroes and anti-heroes from each day and highlight them, so feel free to quibble with the weighting. Start with 0 points. Add 40 points for a cycle, 30 for a 3-HR game and 10 for a 2-HR game. Add 1 point for each run, RBI, 2B, SB, BB, and HBP recorded. Add 2.5 for each hit, 3 for each 3B and 4 for each HR. Subtract 1 for each CS and GIDP, subtract 2 for each error, 0.2 for each SO and 0.5 for each AB. I should have LOB's in here somewhere, but I don't track that in my player gamelogs since no one can agree on a definition.