Good morning. I’d like to take this opportunity to discuss a topic that can be difficult for many to talk about. It can happen when you least expect it. Chances are strong that somebody you know has already been affected. Your sister or best friend, mother, brother, maybe your favorite player in the league, hell, maybe even you. It’s okay. There is light at the end of the tunnel. For victims of trade rape, the road to recovery can be difficult and disheartening.
Last season, statistics show that over 50% of registered leagues had at least one incident of trade rape. 73% of leagues reported interdivisional trade abuse, a strong precursor to more violent trade behavior. It is important to keep yourself protected at all times; trade rape is often instigated by one’s closest friends or family, who take advantage of trust and strike when the guard is down. In some situations the abuser may not even realize what they are doing is wrong- maybe they’ve been taken advantage of in the past and have normalized the trauma, maybe they truly believe their trades are fair and consensual. Regardless, if you feel you have been a victim of trade rape, it is important to seek help now, before more people are hurt.
Let’s discuss what trade rape is and isn’t. Trade rape is defined as one league player proposing and executing a trade against another player, wherein the abuser has an obvious advantage in the outcome of the trade. This is usually facilitated by the abuser being more well-informed or perhaps even possessing insider information. Maybe their trade target is highly intoxicated or otherwise incapacitated. Some may feel that the line between critical savvy trading and criminal savage trading is blurry, but I propose that the line is not blurry at all. If you aim to take advantage of another league member’s impairment or lack of discernment, you may be a trade rapist.
Bad trades happen and not all of them are premeditated offenses. Perhaps an otherwise fair trade is completed, only for one player to get injured in the following game, or another player to greatly exceed their expectations and put up big numbers. These are not instances of trade abuse and I do not wish to conflate the two. If you are fortunate enough to come out on the positive side of such a trade, you may still feel empathy and compassion for your trade partner‘s loss, but you need not feel guilt.
Some of you may be asking, how do I protect myself from becoming a victim, or how can I be sure I am not abusing those that I care about? Is it my responsibility to make sure my trade partners are informed? What IS a fair trade?
These are all terrific questions. The best way to protect yourself as well as your trade partners is to know what a fair trade looks like. Admittedly, a fair trade can be difficult to come by. In many cases, even when consenting partners are interested in trading, there may not be a fair trade possible to satisfy each team’s needs.
In its most simple form, a fair trade can be defined as a one for one trade consisting of two players with approximately equal “trade value”. Team A needs a RB and has an extra WR, Team B has the opposite. Boom. Easy, fair trade. Or perhaps two teams wish to swap QB’s to better match with their existing receivers. In truth there are a number of scenarios in which fair trading can be accomplished. The difficultly is that a desirable and fair, perfectly balanced trade is indeed rare. In most cases one party or the other has an advantage, simply because player values are complex and always changing. Of course, you would always prefer to be the owner with the trade advantage. In this way, by design most trades that are proposed to you will have a slight edge to the team proposing. Why would anyone initiate a trade where they are losing overall value to their team? When a trade is proposed to you, the best case scenario is a fair, mutually beneficial trade. On average the trade will contain elements of mutual benefit, but the overall value will lean towards the proposer. It is very, very rare indeed that a trade proposed to you would ever have an overall value leaning in your favor, for the reasons mentioned above. Worst case scenario when a trade is proposed to you, is trade rape.
Three benchwarmers for one stud is trade rape. In this scenario the team trading away the stud must also drop players from their team to make way for the newly acquired trade players. Even if the three scrubs equal the value of the one stud on paper, in practice there are no three-for-one deals. You don’t get two extra roster spots to make room for these players. Once you calculate in the loss of your two dropped players, you see that you likely made only incremental improvements in those positions, and traded away one of your best players for a mid-tier replacement. It’s one thing if the three players you are receiving are decent and would each provide actual improvements to your positions, but more often than not the players are bench players for the proposing trade rapist. These trades are loosely insulting and only in the worst of scenarios should they be considered. If your team has been ravaged by injury and you are having trouble filling positions with quality, starting players, you may need to trade away your hot shot in order to rebuild a team that sees playtime. In all other scenarios, this author views proposed three-for-one trades as criminal.
My friends, my league mates, I am here today writing as an advocate for us all. I have been victim to attempted trade abuse, this season and most seasons before it. There are too many owners who want to improve a position on their team without wanting to give up anything in the process. But that is not how we define a trade. To trade, you get something, you give up something. You are banking that what you got has more value that what you gave, your trader partner is banking the same. It is a bet on the future. Trade rape is not betting on the future, it is betting on your opponent’s ignorance. All’s fair in love and war, I do not mean to vilify those who wish to improve their team through precision, tactical trade practices. Just know that this butthole is clenched hard, I’ve got my rape whistle ready and no penetration will occur today or any other day. Protect yourselves, men, and best of luck.