This past Sunday we heard about the reports of Miami Dolphin offensive lineman Jonathan Martin taking a personal leave from the team.
Martin said he took the leave as a result of being bullied, obscenely harassed and threatened by on the locker room and through digital means by fellow Miami Dolphins football player Richie Incognito.
On Monday, November 4th, Incognito was suspended indefinitely from the team for detrimental conduct pending continued investigation relating to these issues.
According to FOX Sports News, ESPN and other sports networks, Incognito sent texts that were “threatening and racially charged in nature,” and left the following voicemail to Martin in April:
“Hey, wassup, you half n—– piece of s—. I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. (I want to) s— in your f—— mouth. (I’m going to) slap your f—— mouth. (I’m going to) slap your real mother across the face (laughter). F— you, you’re still a rookie. I’ll kill you.”
Many sports commentators consider this to be typical locker room behavior and rookie hazing and say it’s normal and that the target of this behavior “man up.”
Regardless of whether you are an athlete or not, that kind of thinking needs to be changed.
STOMP Out Bullying’s mission is to help children and teens, yet the mistreatment and cruelty to anyone of any age is not acceptable.
It’s been reported that other sports teams display the same type of behavior.
Athletes are looked up to by our youth as role models. Therefore they should be displaying the appropriate behavior of role models.
What kind of message is this sending to our youth, who not only look up to athletes, but to the many who aspire to be athletes?
While many of Martin’s Miami Dolphin team members support him, it’s time to change locker room behavior and not accept that it’s a “right of passage” and not even suggest that anyone “man up.” To suggest that rookies “man up” or “grow a thick skin” is insulting and make the target of this behavior seem weak.
By changing the rules today and holding all sports leagues accountable to educate their coaches and players on appropriate behavior and language shows a new behavior without insult or hatred and shows real role models to our youths and other athletes.
It behooves the NFL and every other sports league to change old thinking and create teams who take on respectful attitudes and behavior.
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