After writing my previous article on bullying, I thought I was going to be through writing about the subject of writing of bullying. I was wrong!
Bullying is definitely a subject that hits both young and old. Unfortunately, in this case, the bullying involves two players in the NFL – one being the victim and one being the perpetrator. Initially, the team management from the Miami Dolphins did not take the complaint seriously from Jonathan Martin. Martin had been receiving text messages from guard Richie Incognito and received voicemails that are both threatening and racially charged in nature. After some additional information came up, the team management from the Dolphins finally acknowledged the bullying targeted at Martin. Their tone changes quite quickly once this information was exposed and the NFL has been requested to be involved in the investigation.
With the time that elapsed during the first notification and the time that the team acknowledged the racially charged bullying, I find this completely unacceptable. I personally believe that the Dolphins should have done more as part of their investigation and not waited to acknowledge the bullying. While I do applaud the Dolphins for taking this seriously now that it has been exposed to the press, I do believe that there needs to be more done to prevent future occurrences from happening. I do believe that the NFL also needs to step up in the league policies when it comes to this subject. There are policies in place under the NFL Personal Conduct Policy, but I do not notice that it is enforced as much as they should.
The NFL Personal Conduct Policy states:
"Persons who fail to live up to this standard of conduct are guilty of conduct detrimental and subject to discipline, even where the conduct itself does not result in conviction of a crime."
Employees found in violation of the policy may have discipline imposed for any of the following circumstances:
• Violent or threatening behavior among employees, whether in or outside the workplace.
• Conduct that imposes inherent danger to the safety and well-being of another person; and
• Conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity and reputation of the NFL, NFL clubs, or NFL players.” (Salguero, Miami Herald 11/4/13)
It does not matter how big you are. (Martin is a BIG guy!) Bullying happens to everyone. It should not take away from the issue. I also hope that the NFL places more sanctions on Incognito on top of the indefinite suspension and also forward this to Law Enforcement authorities because this meets the definition of a hate crime. I also hope that the NFL in the future will take this more seriously and provide more education to the players and coaches on what is not acceptable behavior under the NFL Personal Conduct Policy especially to the rookie players that enter the league.
Bullying should not be tolerated or overlooked. Players should not be silent about it nor overlook if they see someone being victimized. Children are not the only ones who deal with it.