It would be nice if more statistics on the amount of bullying that takes place in our society were more readily available. Although there is a significant campaign against youth bullying in our schools, adults many times suffer from it and don’t get nearly as much support. Perhaps if as much attention was devoted to adult bullying as it is to second hand smoke or to drunk driving then we might be able to snuff out one more thing that drags us down. Unfortunately, it seems like the only time the topic of adult bullying comes up is when someone of notoriety is involved, such as a rap star using his singer girlfriend as a punching bag or most recently, a big-time college basketball coach who employs similar tactics.
A video was released of Rutgers University men’s basketball coach, Mike Rice, which depicts Rice’s method of using (or abusing) his team members to the point of humiliation. The video tape surfaced after former director of player development, Eric Murdock, did not have his contract renewed last year. In the videotape, Rice is seen kicking, punching and tossing players around like Raggedy Ann dolls as a means to get them to play better. Nice job, Rice.
Apparently, Murdock released the tape of Rice’s antics as some sort of “get even with Rice” campaign after being fired. It’s a shame it took such an extreme measure as Murdock getting fired for the information regarding Rice’s despicable behavior to become public knowledge. In a perfect world, bullies such as Mike Rice would be ousted before they can eventually take control over others.
Bullies such as Rice seem to have a methodical system in which they operate; they cajole those who are impressionable, make them feel wanted and much like a spider to an unsuspecting weaker insect….lure their prey into their web.
Unfortunately, such bullying tactics as employed by Coach Rice are not unique to sports. Safe haven shelters are full of women so beaten and humiliated by men with over-inflated egos to the point where they are willing to leave their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs in order to get out of the situation. One has to suspect that there are multitudes of seemingly happy homes where similar behavior is being exhibited where women (or sometimes men) do not have the courage or resources to leave the intolerable situation.
We’ve seen similar actions in the workplace, where a stagnant economy has many employers running roughshod over their staffs. These employers, knowing full well that their employers feel stuck and with few options, can feel free to wield their influence by coercing, berating and intimidating their employees into doing things they might not normally do in better economic times.
It’s ironic that the name of the Rutgers men’s basketball team is the Scarlet Knights. Is it a coincidence that the team carries the same name as another infamous coaching bully, Bobby Knight? Knight was hugely successful in terms of games won over the years, particularly while serving as head basketball coach at Indiana University. Eventually, his act wore thin, but it first took the team falling into disrepair before he was finally asked to leave the school.
In certain cases, there seems to be a glorification of Knight and people like him. Knight recently appeared in one of the cable sports talk shows in which he stated, “A pat on the back will get things done…a kick in the ass will get a Hell of a lot more done.” Such “kicks in the ass” may very well get some things accomplished in the short run; however, I suspect that someone’s self-esteem may very well suffer over the long term. What’s the ultimate payoff? Knight is still making a decent living by appearing in TV commercials in which his “chair throwing” antics are reenacted.
Perhaps it’s time for a National “Out” a Bully Day. Pick a bully…any bully…and call him/her out. It’s time to take a stand.