Any one else notice the odd bedfellows associated with anti-bullying crusade?
A Miami Dolphins football offensive tackle has reportedly been bullied by teammates, although the player, Jonathan Martin, reportedly holds nothing against his fellow players. Still, the Dolphins have announced that the team will not tolerate bullying. This from a member of an organization, the National Football League, which promotes organized and willful violence between its participating athletes on a daily and weekly basis through practices, scrimmages, and games. But they're against bullying.
Does anyone else see something absurd about that?
Similarly the WWE, or World Wrestling Entertainment, has for several years been active on the anti-bullying front through such promotions as its Be a STAR program (Show Tolerance And Respect) in which their roster of superstars go to schools to encourage kids not to be nor tolerate bullies. There's nothing wrong with that so far as it goes (we could quibble by asking such intrusive questions of a feel good campaign such as tolerate what? or respect it why? but such are for another time), but isn't it the least bit incongruent for a wrestling entertainment corporation which actively promotes trash talk among its members leading up to, during, and after wrestling events to turn around and, in real life, argue against the same behaviors? Can someone say mixed message?
Still, there are important differences between the two. The WWE brand of violence is comic and the organization knows it. Indeed, it plays it up. Wrestlers do things cooperatively in the ring so as to reduce the chance of serious injury. The violence of the NFL is intentional and uncooperative, and makes the League's anti-bullying cries seem at least vaguely hypocritical. The WWE is self aware. It doesn't promote violence per se. The NFL is at least arguably schizophrenic. Its violence is encouraged while its mouthpieces say things radically opposite of the attitudes encouraged for play in an actual game.
We find we can take the wrestlers' anti-bullying pleas more seriously. Go figure.